‘Boot camp’ draws critical care nurses from across nation

Sep 30, 2023 at 11:21 pm by Staff

The event is an opportunity for critical care nurse practitioners and physician assistants to receive specialized critical care training to improve patient care. (photo by Donn Jones)


By Matt Batcheldor


About 200 nurse practitioners and physician assistants from around the country gathered at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel from Sept. 16-17 for the 12th annual ACNP/PA Critical Care Boot Camp.

The event, organized by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Office of Advanced Practice, is a conference for critical care nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) to receive specialized critical care training to improve patient care. The lecture-based course is designed to educate new providers with relevant evidence-based clinical information as well as challenge experienced providers with new research, updated best practice guidelines and thought-provoking discussions. The diverse conference faculty includes physicians, NPs and PAs who are leaders in their disciplines both at Vanderbilt and in health care facilities nationwide.

This year’s topics included “Top Papers in Critical Care Medicine,” “Acute Management of Spinal Cord Injuries,” and “What’s New in Status Epilepticus Seizure Prophylaxis.”

“The boot camp is just one example of the unique and amazing advanced practice culture at Vanderbilt,” said Buffy Krauser Lupear, APRN, CRNA, DNP, MMHC, director of Advanced Practice Development & Professional Practice in the VUMC Office of Advanced Practice. “The engagement from those who are participating as either faculty members or speakers or on the planning committee was outstanding.”

The two-day course was offered in person, but recordings of all course presentations are available for attendees to view online for six months after the conference. In addition to sessions, the conference offered a complimentary networking event and ultrasound skills lab, cadaver lab and a hands-on procedural skill lab with mannequins.

Participants, many of them recent graduates and early career professionals, come from all over the country, and their feedback helps inspire topics. They also have networking opportunities and leave with a new group of friends and mentors.

VUMC is a national leader in advanced practice. The Boot Camp is one of the only conferences in the country that provides focused education for critical care NPs and PAs. There are more than 325,000 NPs and 150,000 PAs in the United States today, and more than 1,500 advanced practice providers are at Vanderbilt. These clinicians are educated in nationally accredited programs, clinically trained and board certified in their area of practice.

“Because of our reputation, the boot camp attracts both annual attendees and many who are attending for the first time because they have moved into a critical care role,” said Brent Dunworth, DNP, MBA, CRNA, NEA-BC, associate nurse executive for Advanced Practice in the VUMC Office of Advanced Practice. “They really savor the very specific information we provide and the community of advanced practice professionals that thrives at Vanderbilt.”

Each year, the conference honors the late Arthur Wheeler, MD, who was medical director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit and helped launch and support the event.

“Each year, our critical care boot camp harnesses the energy of advanced practice professionals around the country,” said Marilyn Dubree, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Executive Chief Nursing Officer. “Participants have the opportunity to broaden their critical care skills, benefiting patients and families nationwide.”

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