This year I had the privilege to experience the 2015 Annual NAPNAP (National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners) Conference in Las Vegas! This was my first exposure to a professional conference for PNPs. I was lucky to have two of my PNP instructors in attendance so I was not completely lost. As I arrived Tuesday night at Caesars Palace, I was already overwhelmed. I was trying to figure out how I was going to experience everything the conference had to offer as well as study for finals (scheduled the Monday after I returned). My journey started on a high note with an upgrade to a spa suite for one night because the hotel was overbooked. After fully enjoying the suite and getting a good night sleep, I was ready for the conference opening session Wednesday morning.
As I walked into the conference room, I was taken aback by the number of PNPs in the room. There were over 1,500 PNPs in attendance from those who helped pioneer the advancement in practice to students who came to learn from those leading the field. There was an array of sessions to attend including pharmacology, vaccination updates, primary care topics and acute care topics. The session that I really enjoyed was acute cardiac cases and it helped to solidify what specialty I want to go into. When not attending a session there was an expo that had a mixture of products, information and hospitals looking for PNPs. There was also numerous pools, a spa (which I indulged in), many award winning restaurants (the steakhouse I went to had the best steak ever, and I encourage you to splurge on wagyu steak if you ever get a chance), clubs (it was privilege to see Calvin Harris DJ) and of course the actual casino (never hit on a 13 or higher in black jack).
On Friday night, I attended the student reception. In meeting students from across the country I realized how lucky I am to be attending the program at OHSU with a plan to practice in Oregon. One student from Tennessee explained that it was one of the most restrictive states where the PNP has to work under a physician’s license much like a PA.
This conference was an amazing experience, and I encourage everyone to find your program’s national professional organization and try to attend the national conference. You will gain so much knowledge, make connections, learn about what is new and make friends. The conference gave me an extra boost to get through the program so that I can practice and work towards making a difference in pediatric care.