Saturday, April 16, 2011

Continuing Education Conferences Relevant To Nurse Practitioners

I just finished attending the Fourth Clinician's Network Educational Conference in Orlando. The focus of the conference was on developing a culture of quality throughout the health center. Being that I work in a rural health center, it is relevant to my practice.

Often we are fixated on seeing the right amount of patients in order to meet our quotas, but are we really giving them quality health care? How many people are we missing that need screenings for breast and colon cancers? UDS information is collected from random charts and is sometimes really surprising. I don't agree with random pulls of charts because I have such a diverse population of patients and I think that the true statistics will be accurate once the total numbers are seen. I knew that darn statistics class would rear it's ugly head some time!

We are still on paper charting but will soon start electronic charting which, I hope, will help with some of these issues. The system on the computer will flag us when something is on the outliers. Alerts will show us when there are trends in blood sugars and will tell us that an A1C is due or when a patient's blood pressure is above established parameters. These will be good things to keep us on track. It was also brought up at the conference that we should be on the watch for "alert fatigue" which can make us ignore them due to the constant pop ups.

One of the presenters was a gastroenterologist that didn't get his own screening and found himself with stage four colon cancer. It makes one take a closer look at themselves when it comes to taking care of ourselves instead of focusing on everyone else for a change. How many of you have had your colonoscopy done or your mammograms? I can say that I have had both!

Until the next time, be well and take better care of yourselves Because Your Nurse Practitioner Says So!