SILVER SPRING, MD. (September 21, 2017) – A team of nurses at The University of Kansas Health System skilled in caring for patients with a little known deadly and often misdiagnosed disease will head to Bethesda, Md., for a unique career opportunity. They will be among more than 400 mostly non-physician health care professionals at the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA)’s Pulmonary Hypertension Professional Network (PHPN) Symposium, Navigating the Future: Individualizing Patient Care in the Face of Increasing Complex Treatment Options, Oct. 5-7, in Bethesda, Md.
Lauren Hulett, BSN, MBA, R.N.; Amy Heidenreich, B.A., BSN, R.N., CCRN; and Jocelyn Havener, BSN, R.N.; work together on the same health care team as pulmonary nurse coordinators at their hospital’s pulmonary hypertension program. The center is one of 54 health care programs in the United States to receive PHA’s recently implemented Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center (PHCC) accreditation. The University of Kansas Health System program received PHA’s PHCC Center of Comprehensive Care (CCC) accreditation designation. The nursing team is looking forward to traveling as a team to the Symposium — held every other year since 2003 to bring together nurses and other health care professionals who specialize in caring for PH patients — for professional development, sharing research and education. The 2017 Symposium offers the opportunity to earn up to 12 hours of CME/CE and includes an accredited poster session.
PH is a progressively debilitating disease resulting in high blood pressure of the lungs due to narrowing of the pulmonary arteries. PH forces the right side of the heart to pump harder to move blood into the lungs, which can eventually lead to heart failure and death. Symptoms are non-specific and include shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain, and consequently people with the disease go months, sometimes years, believing they have something other than PH. Most people living with PH are ultimately diagnosed with an advanced form of the disease. The disease affects adults and children. With early and accurate diagnosis and quality care, appropriate treatments are now available for two forms of adult PH — pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) — that can extend and improve the quality of life for many people living with the disease.
Hulett, who is on the PHPN Symposium Planning Committee said the Symposium is a way to stay up to date on trends in PH patient care. At her first Symposium five years ago, she learned about PHA’s patient resources, most notably the PHA support groups that have been a life line for her patients. In addition to earning CME credits, she has made connections with other health care professionals across the country with whom she exchanges valuable tips and resources that help her care for her patients. A recent contact from last year’s Symposium gave her a resource for a patient who found herself suddenly ineligible for assistance to pay for her PH medications. Hulett’s participation and input on the event’s planning committee led to the division of Symposium into four tracks, one novice and one expert track for adult care and another novice and expert track for caring for pediatric patients.
Hulett said she is especially looking forward to hearing Theresa Brown, BSN, R.N., who will deliver the keynote speech during the Oct. 5 opening dinner. Brown is a clinical nurse who works in Pittsburgh, and her second book, published in 2015, The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patient’s Live, was a New York Times bestseller. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and has been a regular guest on national cable TV programs. Brown will speak about the benefits of health care teams, who like Hulett and her colleagues, support each other to provide the best care for their patients.
“I have a few patients who’ve read her book over the course of a year,” Hulett said. “I can’t wait to hear her speak.”
This year’s Symposium takes place at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. September 22 is the last day to register online. PHA will also allow onsite registration at the event.
About the Pulmonary Hypertension Association
Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the country’s leading pulmonary hypertension organization. PHA’s mission is to extend and improve the lives of those affected by PH; its vision is a world without PH, empowered by hope. PHA achieves this by connecting and working together with the entire PH community of patients, families, health care professionals and researchers. For more information and to learn how you can support PH patients, visit www.PHAssociation.org and connect with PHA on Twitter and Instagram @PHAssociation and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PulmonaryHypertensionAssociation.
Amy Heidenreich, Jocelyn Havener, Lauren Hulett