Nearly 500 practitioners gather for third annual Retail Clinician Education Congress

ORLANDO, Fla. The third annual Retail Clinician Education Congress kicked off here Monday, attracting nearly 500 nurse practitioners for the two-and-a-half-day live continuing education conference for retail-based healthcare providers. Hosted by Retail Clinician magazine in conjunction with the Convenient Care Association, RCEC 2010 convened in line with the start of National Convenient Care Clinic Week, which became official last week when Sens. Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Thad Cochran, D-Miss., introduced a Senate resolution.

“Retail Clinician magazine has been aware of the amazing work you do with patients across the country for even longer than the four years we have been publishing the magazine. Now you have your entire nation’s attention,” Drug Store News Group/Retail Clinician magazine editor in chief Rob Eder told attendees Monday evening, during the annual CARE award reception, a key component of the RCEC program. The Retail Clinician/CCA CARE awards honor nurse practitioners and physician assistants for delivering excellence in patient care, as well as clinic leadership, academic thought leaders and those outside of the convenient care/retail health industry whose critical support has helped advance the model and the cause of the practitioners who are on the front-lines of the American healthcare system’s newest frontier.


“Not to be lost in all of this, this recognition comes at a critical juncture in our country’s history,” Eder said, “when the hard work of implementing health reform begins and we have to figure out how to extend health care to 30 million more Americans that previously didn’t have insurance, and there just aren’t enough physicians to get it all done.”


To salute the passage of Senate Resolution No. 585, Retail Clinician and CCA presented Lt. Col. Corina Barrow, Army Nurse Corps, special advisor to Sen. Inouye, with a special CARE Champion award. In addition, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell was also presented with a CARE Champion award for the work he has done in his state to advance the scope of practice of nurse practitioners in his state. Rendell addressed RCEC attendees via a live video feed shot from the Governor’s office. In his comments, Rendell challenged states across the country to empower nurse practitioners to play a larger role in U.S. health care, particularly, in certain rural regions of the country, where — like in many parts of Pennsylvania, he noted — access to primary care is limited at best, and often, nonexistent at worst.


Other CARE award winners included —

  • Susan B Hassmiller, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., senior advisor for nursing/director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine: CARE Lifetime Achievement (a.k.a., the Loretta Ford Award). “What Sue Hassmiller is doing through the IOM and RWJ Future of Nursing is no short of a miracle,” said special guest presenter Loretta Ford. “The recommendations that will come out in the fall will revolutionize nursing and move us forward light years.”
  • Deb Paffenroth, Aurora QuickCare: CARE Unsung Hero Award. Paffenroth was credited with having saved the life of one of her patients — the sore throat he thought he had turned out to be cancer. While the patient had no insurance, Paffenroth arranged to have him treated at the local Virginia hospital where she also works. The patient, who recently completed a course of radiation and chemotherapy, credits Paffenroth with saving his life
  • Caroline Stein, Target Clinic: CARE Unsung Hero Award. Stein was recognized for exceptional patient care, and for routinely walking the front of the store looking for customers to engage in discussions about health and prevention whether they are clinic customers or not
  • Vicki Mitchell, The Little Clinic: CARE Unsung Hero Award. During a routine sports physical, Mitchell detected a heart murmur in the child and advised the mother to arrange an appointment for a complete evaluation and EKG with the child’s pediatrician. The child was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson White Syndrome and is currently undergoing corrective surgery
  • Jennifer Tucker, MinuteClinic: CARE Lifesaver Award. Tucker is credited with having saved three lives in the last four months alone at her clinic. One gentleman recently collapsed from a heart attack in the pharmacy — Tucker performed CPR, successfully resuscitating him. Since then, Tucker successfully managed two cases of anaphylactic reaction — one from latex, another from a bee sting. For vacation, Tucker routinely performs mission work in San Raymundo, Guatemala, where she typically sees 600 patients and performs 40 to 50 or more surgical procedures with a team of five other practitioners, during a typical trip
  • Phyllis Smith, Take Care Health Systems: CARE Lifesaver Award. When a man with a bee sting allergy collapsed and went into cardiac arrest in the OTC aisle where he had just asked a Walgreens store associate for help finding the Benadryl, Smith jumped into action. Later, when the man, who wasn’t even a Take Care Health Systems patient, returned to the store and watched the store video of his miraculous, life-saving rescue, he wept
  • Ann Maag, RediClinic: CARE Lifesaver Award. Recently, an 8-year-old boy presented at Maag’s clinic on a busy Sunday afternoon with vague complaints of not feeling well and a bit of a fever. While the boy waited, Maag noticed he was sleeping in the waiting area even amid the loud clang of the registers and the hustle and bustle of the nearby checkout area of the store, and brought him in ahead of the other patients. Upon careful history and exam, Maag learned that the boy’s pants often seemed looser than they should and that he seemed to be thirsty all the time. She also noticed a sweet smell to his breath. A dipstick analysis revealed unusually high ketone and glucose levels. Maag immediately called the child’s primary care physician at home and helped get the boy admitted to the hospital that day, where he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, likely preventing the child from progressing to ketoacidosis and potentially passing into a coma
  • Ann Marie Coppen, Lindora: CARE Healthy Lifestyle Promotion Award. As Coppen was helping Lindora launch its medical clinics, she also completed her dissertation, “Effects of Ten Week Weight Loss Program on Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Children and Adolescents,” was also published in the Journal of The Cardio Metabolic Syndrome. Many of the adolescents in the study were patients she treated — successfully — at Lindora
  • Angie Swatfager, MinuteClinic: CARE Service Award. In her job as VP operations support, Swatfager is responsible for supporting more than 1,900 MinuteClinic field healthcare providers, including family nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physicians, and 60 field healthcare providers in leadership positions for CVS Caremark/MinuteClinic. “Angie’s was absolutely imperative in MinuteClinic becoming the first retail healthcare organization to be accredited by the Joint Commission,” noted MinuteClinic president Andrew Sussman, M.D., who presented the award to Swatfager on behalf of Retail Clinician magazine and the CCA
  • Mike Ayotte, CVS Caremark/MinuteClinic: CARE Leadership award. Ayotte was recognized for the important advocacy work he has performed on behalf of CVS Caremark and the convenient care clinic industry as a whole. “Over the past three years, Mike has been at the forefront, working with CCA staff and industry members, championing important policy initiatives on behalf of CCA and its member organizations — and all of us in this room,” noted CCA executive director Tine Hansen-Turton in presenting Ayotte with his award
  • Patricia Starck, D.S.N., R.N., F.A.A.N., University of Texas School of Nursing: CARE Academic Leadership Award. Dr. Starck was honored for her work in creating the first faculty practice in a retail health setting in partnership with RediClinic.

In addition, Hansen-Turton presented a special joint CARE Leadership Award to CCA’s board of directors, including Sussman of MinuteClinic; Web Golinkin, president and CEO, RediClinic; Sandy Ryan, chief nurse practitioner officer, Take Care Health Systems; Janet Teske, manager, Aurora QuickCare; Ken Berndt, president and CEO, Bellin FastCare and Cynthia Graff, president and CEO, Lindora.



RCEC, which concludes Wednesday afternoon, included more than 14 live hours of continuing education, and 25 different supplier companies demonstrated products and detailed attendees in the exhibit hall area.


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