Empowering APRNs for change: A journey of advocacy and leadership

Margaret Spivey

In July 2023, UF College of Nursing MSN to DNP student Margaret Spivey presented at the Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners (FLANP) annual conference in Jacksonville, FL. The conference provides valuable insight into clinical practice, professional advocacy and personal well-being for nurse practitioners. Leading the way for over a decade, FLANP works to assertively target advocacy through action and seeks to optimize the practice environments for NPs in Florida. Through this, Spivey was able to lean into these areas of focus with her presentation, “Full Scope of Practice for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.”

Can you share an overview of your presentation?

  • The full scope of practice eliminates restrictive state laws and institutional barriers, allowing all advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to practice to the full extent of their education and training. As APRNs, we can evolve to meet society’s needs with a focus on social determinants of health. Health equity can be achieved in nursing by strengthening knowledge, growth, leadership and expertise. Last year, before starting the DNP program, I had little desire to present at a conference; however, the program has challenged me to take on additional leadership roles. As nurses, our leadership skills empower us to affect positive change in health care, championing health equity and advocating for patients.

What was the significance of your presentation?

  • Presenting at the FLANP annual conference significantly impacted me. When I look at the numerous challenges in mental health care, including lack of health insurance, limited treatment access, high treatment cost and the shortage of mental health providers, it becomes evident that as APRNs, we have a vital role in addressing these issues. By advocating for policy change and expanding the full scope of our practice, we can work to overcome barriers and help to bridge the gap in mental healthcare.
  • I am currently an active board member of FLANP. Being actively involved and participating in a professional nursing organization has helped me learn the value of personal growth, collaboration and support for creating change.
Margaret Spivey

What were the key takeaways you aimed for attendees to gain from your presentation?

  • I hope the presentation helped empower APRNs to overcome barriers and advocate for expanding the role of the APRN for full practice authority. In addition, the presentation may encourage attendees to participate actively in a state APRN organization like FLANP. As a powerful force, we have the ability to ensure the voice of all APRNs, influence policy change and shape the future of nursing.

What does advocacy through action mean to you?

  • “Advocacy through action” is the FLANP trademark: Advancing and promoting the role of nurse practitioners in Florida and advocating for high-quality healthcare for all patients. As a part of the organization, we seek to create positive change in health care policy at the state level. 

How do you believe your current DNP education has prepared you for this opportunity?

  • My current DNP education has prepared me for the opportunity to advocate for patients through health care policy change; the program has inspired and motivated me to make a difference as a transformational leader. Through advanced education, I have developed a deeper of evidence-based practice, health care systems and leadership skills. As nurses, we are the largest workforce in health care and possess the power to influence health care outcomes. Together, we can make a difference.