Note from Your VCNP President
September is suicide awareness month. Research shows that people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks after them in a caring way. These findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce, rather than increase, suicidal ideation. If you know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential.

The last six months have placed unprecedented stress on healthcare workers. It’s essential that we take care of ourselves so we can continue caring for others. The Emotional PPE Project connects healthcare workers in need with licensed mental health professionals who can help.
Virginia Department of Health updates
On September 14, the VDH issued a COVID-19 update. Some topics are outlined below.
New portal for reporting COVID lab results
The VDH has developed a reporting portal for point-of-care (POC) COVID-19 test results. This portal will assist testing sites in meeting the requirement of the CARES Act to report every diagnostic and screening test. All COVID-19 test results should be reported to VDH within 24-hours.

CDC interim guidance for rapid antigen testing
Antigen tests are commonly used in the diagnosis of respiratory infections. To date, the FDA has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for four antigen tests that can identify COVID-19. Antigen tests are relatively inexpensive and can be used at the point-of-care. The currently authorized devices return results in approximately 15 minutes. 

VDH updated guidance for COVID testing
VDH released updated guidance for COVID-19 testing on September 14, 2020. The guidance provides recommendations on testing prioritization through public health and through private and commercial laboratories.

VDH algorithm for evaluating a child with COVID-19 symptoms or exposure
VDH released a new algorithm to assist parents and guardians, schools and childcare facilities, and healthcare providers for when a child should be excluded from the facility, when care and further evaluation for COVID-19 should be pursued, and when the child can return to the school or childcare facility.
Update on EO 57 and autonomous practice requirements
Executive Order 57 expired on September 8. The order, which was signed by Governor Northam on April 17, allowed NPs with more than two years of clinical experience to practice without a written or electronic collaborative agreement during the pandemic state of emergency. At this time, NPs must practice under the current law that allows NPs with five or more years of clinical experience to apply for autonomous practice licensure before practicing without a collaborative agreement.
Currently there is a budget amendment that was offered by Delegate Dawn Adams to continue allowing NPs with two years of clinical experience to practice autonomously for the duration of the state of emergency. We will keep you updated if this amendment passes with the budget during the current General Assembly special session.
As of September 15, there are 1,016 NPs with autonomous practice licenses in Virginia! Let’s keep increasing these numbers to show how important this licensure is to the NP profession.
If you meet the requirements, please apply!
If you have questions or need assistance with the application process, contact [email protected].
Support VCNP’s PAC
In less than two months, Virginians will head to the polls to elect new leaders. To ensure that Virginia’s legislators continue hearing from NPs, we need your help! Please consider making a one-time or recurring monthly donation to VCNP’s PAC.
The importance of flu shots
As you know, flu shots are recommended for all persons age 6 months and older. During the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the overall burden of respiratory illness is important to protect vulnerable populations at risk for severe illness and the healthcare system. Please use every opportunity to administer flu vaccines to all eligible persons including essential workers, persons at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and persons at high risk for influenza complications.
Postponed: Racial equity virtual event
The Moving toward Racial Equity in Health Care virtual event, originally scheduled for this week, has been postponed because our speaker welcomed a new baby earlier than expected. Mother and baby are doing well, and we are working to reschedule this important program. We will share details as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Nominate a deserving NP
Applications for the 2021 AANP State Awards for Excellence are open and due by Sept. 30 at 5 pm CST. Nominations must be submitted electronically at at the button below. The NP State Award for Excellence recognizes an individual NP in each state who has demonstrated excellence in NP clinical practice. The Advocate State Award for Excellence honors an individual in each state who has made a significant contribution toward increasing awareness and recognition of NPs. Although award recipients do not need to be AANP members, nominations must be submitted by an AANP member.
Your VCNP Board of Directors will be meeting virtually next month to discuss plans for the year. This is your professional organization so please let your regional and state officers know how VCNP can be a resource for you. Thank you for your commitment to your patients and our profession.
Becky Compton, DNP, RN, FNP-BC
President, VCNP Board of Directors