Developing a rural advanced practice organization: a personal experience

Monday, 18 November 2013: 3:15 PM

Chaundel L. Presley, APRN, DNP, FNP-BC
Department of Family Nursing, Frontier Nursing University, Lafayette, TN

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify strategies that facilitate small professional group development, particularly in rural areas.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe popular meeting structure and content ideas to help meet the needs of working advanced practice nurses.

Purpose: To develop a local advanced practice nursing organization in a rural geographic area. Goals for the organization were to provide professional networking opportunities, to assess and encourage the use of evidence- based practice, and to focus on specific community health needs in the context of local health care providers.

Methods: Lewin’s change theory served as the foundation for this project. Hand delivered brochures and a verbal project introduction were given to all APNs, PAs and students in the county.  Anonymous pre- and post-participation surveys were distributed along with two established evidence-based practice assessment scales to determine group needs. Monthly meetings commenced and included facilities and meals provided by the local critical access hospital, community announcements, and a presentation of various topics with a consistent evidence-based theme.  After six months, a newsletter with organization highlights was distributed. Regular verbal and written topic evaluations were elicited during the project period.

Results: Twenty-two invitations to participate were extended, and 14 returned pre-participation surveys. Meeting attendance varied, with nine participants attending at least one meeting during the defined six month period. All original contacts were informed of upcoming meetings and pertinent group announcements. Means of communication were through email, text messaging, paper flyers delivered to practice settings, and the group’s newly developed website. No fees were charged for participation, and efforts were made to avoid presentations with any commercial sponsorship focus.

Conclusion: A small core group of attendees emerged over time. Those attending voiced excitement that the group had formed, and found attendance to be a worthwhile effort. Many ideas for future meetings were brainstormed, and a template was developed for members to develop clinical questions for discussion at future meetings. The group continues to meet and evolve based on participant needs and feedback as well as results from the evidence-based practice scales.