A Conversation with Kelly Shank, OAAPN President
It’s been a challenging year for everyone, but as you take over the President role for OAAPN, what do you see as some of the highlights from 2020, both for APRNs as a profession and OAAPN as an organization?
Watching all the nurses and APRNs on the frontlines work so hard to save lives; seeing APRNs make the swift pivot to providing telehealth for their patients; finally having the ability to order home care and hospice for our patients.
Despite the pandemic, OAAPN remained busy on the legislative front:
- We continued to work on HB 177 which would eliminate the Standard Care Arrangement for APRNs.
- We also worked with legislators and other stakeholders to obtain pharmacy consult privileges and worked with the Department of Safety on HB711 which would allow EMS to take DNR orders from APRNs.
- We supported HB 606 that removed liability for providers related to COVID.
We developed and continuously updated a COVID resource page and a telehealth info sheet early in the COVID pandemic and updated it during the summer.
We held our annual Statewide Conference virtually this year under the banner of the Month of Learning. It provided lots of great CEU opportunities, including pharmacology, concussion clearance, dermatology, EKG, and coding and reimbursement.
We continue to meet with Medicaid and work on reimbursement issues related to telehealth and home health orders.
We continued to support the communities we practice in by supporting Second Harvest and Heartbeat of Ohio.
And maybe most importantly we continued to hold chapter meetings across the state. Many were done virtually but were able to keep APRNs in Ohio informed on current issues and provided an opportunity to network.
What were some of the major initiatives for OAAPN in 2020, and where do they stand heading into 2021?
OAAPN’s major focus last year was HB177. That hasn’t changed despite being slowed down by the pandemic. We will continue to work on this legislation in 2021 as well as all legislation that affects APRNs in Ohio.
OAAPN has always focused on education and 2020 was no different. Our conference went virtual but provided great information to our members. We are already working on the Statewide Conference for 2021 and hope to see you all for a much needed weekend in Columbus in October.
Are there any major issues for the profession or the organization that you foresee in 2021?
Telehealth will continue to be an issue going forward. OAAPN continues to advocate for telehealth and APRN reimbursement. Also, identifying ways APRNs can partner with our colleagues to combat mental health issues, infant mortality, racial disparities will be a focus. We hope to identify ways APRNs can serve on Task Forces for these issues and bring the knowledge and experience APRNs have on these important and timely needs in Ohio.
Overall the state of APRN in 2020 and heading into 2021 is…
Overwhelmed with caring for our communities. Despairing the loss of patients we have cared for, sometimes for years. Proud of the work we do saving the people entrusted in our care. Hopeful that we will find a way to beat this virus and restore health in our patients. Excited about the new possibilities the pandemic opened for APRNs.
Do you have any personal goals for 2021 in relation to your work with OAAPN?
My goal this year is to open OAAPN to its members as much as possible. Soon we will be coming to the members with specific ways you can get involved with the work of the Board. Whether that means helping at the chapter level with meetings, serving on a committee, or working with legislators on APRN issues, we want you to get involved. That will be a major focus for me this year!
What can OAAPN members look forward to in the next year?
Legislation that impacts the practice of our members, the resumption of in-person chapter meetings and educational events as soon as it is safe to do so, an amazing conference in October, and increased opportunities to get involved. We are so grateful for our members and will continue to work on issues important to APRNs and our patients!