APN Council History
Delaware may be the “First State” but it was not the first state to recognize advanced practice nurses (APNs) as a separate category of registered nurse. This occurred with the 1983 revision of the Delaware Nurse Practice Act when the term Advanced Registered Nurse practitioner was first used to describe those registered nurses with advanced education and certification. Other states had formed organizations to meet the networking and professional needs of this group of nurses. Most of these organizations focused on the needs of the growing numbers of nurse practitioners (NPs). Some were associated with their state nurses organizations (SNA), some were completely separate from their SNA.
In 1986, NPs working at the former HMO of Delaware primary care location in Newark decided to form an organization to serve as a forum to foster networking, dissemination of information, consumer awareness of the role and professional development. There was a philosophical consensus among the founding members that they should align themselves with the Delaware Nurses Association to unify nurses message in Delaware. This group was called the Primary Care Council (PCC) and Judy Hendricks NP was the first elected chair. The first order of business was the organization of a two day NP Conference. The conference was well attended and deemed a success, however it left the PCC members exhausted and it became somewhat dormant for the next few years.
As the need for prescriptive authority became more acute, the council reactivated and joined forces with the Advanced Practice Issues Committee of the Board of Nursing and this group was again chaired by Judy Hendricks NP. The name of the council was changed to its current name and membership was expanded to include all categories of advanced practice nursing in its membership.
After prescriptive authority legislation passed in 1994, the APN Council began to meet more regularly and Betty Ann Sweet became chair in June 1995. From a nucleus of 7-10 members the APN Council has grown tremendously to a active membership of more than 100 members. The first annual APN Update Clinical conference was held March of 1996 with 75 - 80 attendees. The APN Update in 2001 had over 275 APNs in attendance and 20 professional speakers and it continues to grow every year.
In 1997 Allen Prettyman NP became chair and served in this role for three years. Pam Nitche-Poad NP was the first co-chair elected and was instrumental in the development of this role. This same year (1997) the first secretary was elected and Bonnie Fairchild NP served in that role with grace and style. During this time period, committees were developed and an expanded area of services were offered to members. These services include dinner meetings and monthly business meetings and being actively involved in legislation that affects APNs in Delaware.
The APN Council has continued to grow at a rapid pace under the leadership of:
- Lori Grimes, NP (2000 - 2001) developed the first APN Council web site to facilitate communication.
- Diane Hochstuhl, NP (2001 - 2003) expanded the membership base and developed the promotion committee
- Teresa Long, NP (2003 - 2004) enhanced the foundation of legislative advocacy within the APN Council
- Leslie Verucci, NP (2004 – 2005) built strong bridges with other professional organizations
- Bonnie Wilson, NP (2005 - 2006)
The APN Council continues to identify areas in which to strengthen advocacy for the APNs in Delaware and takes a proactive stance for all APNs in Delaware. Join us and enjoy the rewards of membership!