A variety of unique and cutting-edge topics will be discussed in Keystone, Colorado at the four-day Nurse Practitioner Symposium, presented by the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Nursing, July 15-18.
Bioterrorism, the use of personal digital assistants, serving as an expert witness for advanced practice and trends of infectious diseases are among the session topics at this year's symposium, according to project director Mary Wagner.
"We're also having a forum -- a panel of three experts discussing ethical dilemmas in NP practice," Wagner said. "It's something a little bit different that we haven't done before."
Dozens of 90-minute sessions during the symposium address a wide variety of topics. A session on tattooing, for example, offers attendees the chance to learn about the cultural and medical implications and potential complications of tattoos. "I hope to be there myself, or at least listen to the tape," Wagner said of the tattoo session. "It's so pervasive, and it should be quite interesting."
Botanicals are the subject of an all-day session at this year's symposium. As in years past, there will be a variety of clinical skills workshops, too.
Wagner expects about 1,000 participants and an additional 400-500 exhibitors and others to gather at Keystone Mountain Resort, near the town of Silverthorne. Participants come from every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries, including Canada, Belize and Japan. They all come to learn up-to-date clinical skills, new research findings in evidence-based practice and changing regulations, according to Wagner.
In 2005, the symposium will celebrate its 30th birthday.
"This was the first symposium established for continuing education needs for practicing nurse practitioners. We were, in fact, the 'cookie cutter' if you will, in the world of conferences for NPs. So we are the 'oldest' NP symposium," she said.
"There is currently quite a bit of competition in the area of available conferences for nurse practitioners. We, of course, continue to strive to maintain the highest quality in our program with renowned speakers and cutting edge topics."
The 2004 keynote speaker is Dr. Marianne Neifert, better known as "Dr. Mom."
"She's published at least four books on pediatric topics and is internationally renowned at this point. We're very fortunate to have her on the program," Wagner said.
Loretta Ford, CU graduate and founder of the nurse practitioner movement, will once again be present for the symposium and will present a session on the role of NPs in the past, present and future. In 1965, Ford and the late Dr. Henry Silver from the University of Colorado School of Nursing discussed the expansion of the nurse's role. Together they created the model of expanded skills in diagnosis and assessment that are the foundation of the nurse practitioner movement.
Now a professor emeritus at New York's University of Rochester School of Nursing, Ford has received six honorary degrees from prestigious universities. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and many other professional organizations, and continues to lecture and consult on advanced nursing practice and issues in health care. Wagner said it is an honor to have Ford at the symposium.
"She's in her 80s, and she's got more energy than you can believe," Wagner said. "She has continuously kept her finger on the pulse of healthcare in this country, and worldwide, and the role of the NP. She continues to do a lot of national and international speaking. She's just incredible."
Wagner teaches at the CU School of Nursing and has been involved with the symposium since 1992. She assumed director duties for the event in the fall of 1999.
"I think the program itself has gotten more complex because of the complexity of needs we must address for the active NP in practice now. Whether we're talking about the legalities of the role or the changing healthcare system. Also, consumer demands have become greater. No matter what aspect we're talking about, the symposium program reflects further complexity of the entire movement," Wagner said.
Wagner and the other symposium organizers invest a great deal of time soliciting feedback from attendees and planning future sessions. She encourages suggestions and ideas, and can be reached at (303) 724-0604 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, organizers will be accepting abstracts from nurse practitioners around the country through October 1, 2004. Clinical and cutting-edge topics will be considered for either poster or oral presentations at the 2005 symposium, tentatively planned for July 21-24, 2005 at Keystone Resort.