Two nurse practitioner trade associations are joining forces to better advocate for their members and to help their members better advocate for patients.
Beginning next year, nurse practitioners will have a single, collective body representing them in Washington, DC, as well as promoting education and research in the field.
As of January 1, 2013, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American College of Nurse Practitioners will merge to form the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, both organizations announced last week.
“We felt like it was the right time for there to be one national nurse practitioner organization representing all specialties at the national level,” said Angela Golden, president of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. “This new organization gives us the opportunity to have that one strong, unified voice to move good quality patient care forward.”
The new association will also make it easier for nurse practitioners interested in joining a professional organization but confused by which one to join.
“I think the members will continue to see the same strong organization that they’ve come to expect, but nurse practitioners will not have to decide anymore, ‘Do I have to pay membership to two organizations,’” Golden said. “There’s one organization with their best interest at heart, moving things forward.”
By aligning resources and working together, “we’re going to be able to have the best of both worlds,” said Jill Olmstead, former president of ACNP. One of the biggest benefits includes a stronger legislative platform.
“I’m hoping that this will actually give the average nurse practitioner the opportunity to become more involved within their profession and advocate for improved access to patient care,” Olmstead said. “Nurse practitioners are wonderful at advocating for their patients, and I think the organization is trying to help inspire [them] to advocate for their profession.”
With the growing shortage of primary care doctors and new healthcare care laws creating a large contingent of newly insured Americans, nurse practitioners are becoming increasingly pivotal players in the U.S. healthcare system.
“Whether it’s one organization or not, nurse practitioners are so focused on the patient care, and as healthcare reform comes in,” Golden said, “our focus has to stay where it always has been and that’s on our patients.”