The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) held their 2019 Annual Meeting at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, from June 18 to June 23. The association hosted approximately 5000 NPs and students and showcased more than 400 sessions and workshops delivered by leading NPs, offered 38 contact hours of continuing education, and provided national and international networking opportunities for all attendees.

The meeting began with a welcome reception at the Indianapolis Zoo on June 18, and the official kickoff session was held in the grand hall of the convention center on June 19. The session was a colorful display of camaraderie, excitement, and pride as members gathered as a community of NPs who were welcomed formally by CEO David Hebert, JD. Mr Hebert introduced the 2019 keynote speaker, Elizabeth Smart, who captivated the audience by sharing her story of perseverance after she was abducted as a child. Her speech conveyed a message of hope to the audience and emphasized the importance of not allowing your past to dictate your future.

The following day was bustling with activity as members participated in seminars, workshops, and presentations. In an early morning session, Theresa Mallick-Searle, MS, ANP-BC, from the Division of Pain Medicine at Stanford Health Care, explored the prevalent role that the microbiome plays in pain and mood by explaining the gut-brain connection. She included practical ways for NPs to treat patients who present with an imbalanced microbiome. Dr Leslie Davis gave a seminar on managing treatment-resistant hypertension, in which she described treatment regimens specifically for patients in rural areas similar to the one where she practices. Because patients with treatment-resistant hypertension may present with additional comorbidities, NPs should stress lifestyle modifications in addition to appropriate medications.

In a robust discussion on benzodiazepine prescribing practices for patients with anxiety, Dr Cathleen Crowley-Koschnitzki discussed the different types of anxiety and the correct benzodiazepine that should be prescribed for a specific condition. She stressed that in some cases, patients may not need a benzodiazepine; rather, cognitive-based therapy, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or a beta-blocker may be more appropriate treatment options. The key takeaway for NPs was to use evidence-based prescribing practices when managing patients with anxiety.

On Friday afternoon, Drs Ryan Mallo and Vanessa Pomarico-Denino spoke about caring for and treating LGBTQI patients in primary care, providing the tools the NP needs in order to understand the unique and evolving health needs specific to this community. As more patients move away from identifying as strictly male or female, NPs need to tailor their approach to care by using appropriate communication and language, adhering to guideline-based screening and immunizations — specifically for sexually transmitted infections — and asking questions about intimate partner violence, as gay women are at a higher risk for experiencing rape, physical violence, or stalking.

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Legislation was an important topic at the meeting, with a forum held on Friday morning for all attendees. NPs were urged to show their support for ongoing legislation to improve access to care. Currently, The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act has 68 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and 29 in the United States Senate. This act will authorize NPs to certify their patients’ eligibility for home health services. Other legislation currently being reviewed in Washington, DC, is The Promoting Access to Diabetic Shoes Act and the Accountable Care Organizations Assignment Improvement Act, both of which are gaining support from state and federal officials. “Keeping Health Care on Track” was the theme of the 2019 meeting, with the goal of guiding NPs on the path to career success. NPs left Indianapolis with practice pearls, tips, and tricks that will allow them to do just that. The 2020 meeting, which will be held next June in New Orleans, Louisiana, will continue to foster the growth of NPs and ensure that they are destined for success.