|Nurse practitioners at NIH include (standing, from l) Wendy Henderson, NINR; Susan Rudy, NIDCD; Irene Dustin, NINDS; Joan Ohayon, NINDS; Leo Saligan, NINR; Sheila Brady, NICHD; Julia Purdy, NCI; Michelle Braun, NIDDK; Sheila Mahoney, NICHD; Pamela Brooks, NIDDK; Margarita Velarde, NCI; Linda Bartlett, NIDDK; Joanne Forbes, NIDDK; and Sara Plehn, NIAMS. Seated are (from l) Vien Vanderhoof,
NICHD; Dawn Wallerstedt, NCCAM; Maria Ferraris Araneta, NIMH; Wendy Blocker, NICHD; and Victoria Anderson, NIAID.
The nearly 100 nurse practitioners (NPs) working at NIH across 15 institutes
and centers joined together to organize their first poster session in celebration of National Nurse Practitioner
Week, Nov. 11-17.
NPs are licensed independent practitioners
who work in a variety of settings as primary or specialty care providers, both autonomously and in collaboration with other health-care professionals. Their scope of practice includes diagnosis and management of acute and chronic illnesses, emphasizing health promotion and disease prevention and providing teaching and counseling to individuals,
families and groups.
In the early 1980s, the first NIH NPs joined NCI’s Pediatric Oncology Branch to care for patients enrolled in pediatric oncology and HIV clinical trials. Within the next decade, NIH hired NPs to manage adult and pediatric patients on a variety of protocols. The number of NPs grew from a small cluster of 7 in 1993 to nearly 100 in 2007.
NIH’s NPs also play a critical role in clinical
research within the intramural program. They provide comprehensive care to patients enrolled in NIH clinical research protocols; recruit, screen and enroll study participants; perform medical histories and physical exams; evaluate participants for adverse events; and contribute to specimen and data collection requirements of clinical research protocols. NPs practice in such areas as oncology, immunology,
neurology, endocrinology, pulmonology,
cardiology, nephrology, psychiatry, nuclear
medicine, infectious disease, reproductive biology and complementary medicine. NCI has the most NPs with 31, followed by NHLBI with 13, NIAID with 12 and the Clinical
Center with 10.
NIAID’s Dr. Steven Holland described NPs as “the glue that holds the entire clinical
research enterprise together.” He added, “What all of us want as patients is someone who knows us, our problems, our fears and our personalities along with the big picture of our disease and our treatment. NPs are terrific at that. What we all want as doctors and principal investigators is to be able to keep the patient’s welfare in the forefront while getting the lab work and the clinical research done. NPs make all this happen. They make it possible for science and medicine
to synergize in the clinical research environment.”
At the poster session on Nov. 13, about 10 NPs presented posters of their involvement in clinical research with topics ranging from strategies for recruitment of minority women
for clinical trials to the use of opioids for pain management.—