2016 Conference Speakers


Keynote Speaker

   Margaret Fitzgerald

Margaret A. Fitzgerald, DNP, FNP-BC, NP-C, FAANP, CSP, FAAN, DCC is the Founder, President and Principal Lecturer with Fitzgerald Health Education Associates, Inc., an international provider of NP Certification Preparation and ongoing continuing education for healthcare providers. More than 85,000 NPs have used the Fitzgerald course to successfully prepare for certification. An internationally recognized presenter, Dr. Fitzgerald has provided thousands of programs for numerous professional organizations, universities, national and state healthcare associations on a wide variety of topics including clinical pharmacology, assessment, laboratory diagnosis, healthcare and nurse practitioner practice. For more than 20 years she has provided graduate-level pharmacology courses for nurse practitioner students at a number of universities including Simmons College (Boston, MA), Husson College (Bangor, ME), University of Massachusetts Worcester, Pennsylvania State University, La Salle University (Philadelphia, PA), and Samford University (Birmingham, AL). In addition, she is a family nurse practitioner at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Lawrence, Massachusetts and adjunct faculty for the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center Family Practice Residency Program. She holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio where she received the Alumni Association Award for Clinical Excellence. Dr. Fitzgerald is the recipient of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties' Lifetime Achievement Award, given in recognition of vision and accomplishments in successfully developing and promoting the nurse practitioner role, the American College of Nurse Practitioner's Sharp Cutting Edge Award and the Outstanding Nurse Award for Clinical Practice by the Merrimack Valley Area Health Education Council. She is also a charter fellow in the Fellows of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Dr. Fitzgerald is a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association and is the first nurse practitioner to earn the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation in recognition of excellence and integrity as a speaker. Dr. Fitzgerald is an editorial board member for the Nurse Practitioner Journal, Medscape Nurses, Lexi-Comp, Inc., American Nurse Today, and Prescriber's Letter. She is widely published with more than 100 articles, book chapters, monographs, and audio and video programs to her credit. Her book, Nurse Practitioner Certification Examination and Practice Preparation (2nd edition) received the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award for Advanced Practice Nursing and has been published in English and Korean. She has provided consultation to nursing organizations in the United States, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. Dr. Fitzgerald is an active member of numerous professional organizations at national and local levels.

Conference Speakers

 Joe Flores -  The APRN Entrepreneur

  Joe Flores is a nurse practitioner and a trial attorney. Mr. Flores has practiced in both  state and federal court on civil and criminal matters.  His practice also includes representing nurses and other health care professionals in peer review and state board hearings for a decade.  Mr. Flores is a nationwide lecturer and author of articles including topics such as health care fraud, the field of legal nurse consulting and other areas where nursing and the law overlap.  Mr. Flores has tried dozens of cases on administrative, civil and criminal matters and has defended nurses accused of crimes including but not limited to assault, drunken driving, drug possession and theft. He also defends nurse whistleblowers and assists has assisted governmental entities in health care fraud investigations.  Mr. Flores has also consulted  on cases in many jurisdictions when nurses or other health care providers and their attorneys require assistance.  Mr. Flores also represents several home health and hospice companies.  Mr. Flores is President of Coastal Bend Advanced Practice Nurses (CBAPN). His wife, mother and brother are RN's. Joe can be reached any time by e-mail at joe@floreslawfirm.com or at 361.887.8670.

 Debra Shelby, Ph.D., DNP, FNP-BC, DNC, FACDNP, FAANP - Managing Difficult Rashes

In 2000 Dr. Shelby earned a Master of Science in Nursing from Barry University. After graduation she practiced dermatology prior to joining Center for Dermatology and Skin Surgery in 2002 as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, dermatology specialist. In 2004 she temporarily left the Center to pursue her doctorate at USF. She coordinated the development of the nation’s first Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) Dermatology Residency at the University of South Florida and in 2008 she became the first resident to complete the program. She is board certified in dermatology (DNC) through the Dermatology Nursing Association and has been practicing dermatology since graduating from Barry University. In addition to her practice at Center for Dermatology and Skin Surgery, Inc., Dr. Shelby is the Perioperative Clinical Specialist at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and holds a courtesy faculty appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the DNP Dermatology Residency Program at the University of South Florida. Dr. Shelby is often guest speaker on dermatologic related issues and throughout her career she has presented nationally, published, served as a contributing editor, and has been involved in clinical research. Dr. Shelby resides in Tampa.


  Erin Cusack - The Texas Politcal Environment and TNP's Legislative Agenda for 2017

 Erin Cusack has a wide range of public affairs and grassroots advocacy experience at the state, national, and international levels. Ms. Cusack is currently the Director of Public Affairs for Texas Nurse Practitioners.  Prior to this role, she worked as a Policy Analyst for State Representative Eddie Rodriguez of Travis County, where she served as the health care policy advisor and liaison to the Women’s Health Caucus.  From 2011-2013, she also worked as a Public Policy and Community Engagement Coordinator for the maternal-child health non-profit Maternity Care Coalition in Philadelphia, where she managed advocacy campaigns on issues such as health care reform and access to maternity services. In these positions, she played an integral role in introducing the Texas Pregnant Workers Fairness Bill and raising the profile of the health care crisis in Philadelphia as a contributor to the award-winning journalism series Labor Pains. Outside of the U.S., Ms. Cusack has held various policy positions in health and education as a Fulbright Scholar in Spain and as a USAID Fellow in Nepal. She graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia with a degree in Political Science and has a Master’s in Global Policy Studies from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at UT-Austin.


  Barbara Phillips, MN, GNP, FNP, FAANP - Protecting & Managing Your Professional Identity &
  Digital Reputation

Barbara C Phillips is the founder and CEO of Nurse Practitioner Business Owner™ (NPBO™) providing business and marketing education, resources and support for Entrepreneurial Clinicians who are considering starting their business, as well as those growing their businesses. She speaks nationally, writes and has coached hundreds of NPs on the path to entrepreneurship. NPBO provides business and marketing education, resources and support to entrepreneurial clinicians. She work with clinicians who are pondering a business, startup, growth and eventually selling their business though an array of products and services including private coaching. Ms. Phillips mission is to empower, cultivate and support Nurse Practitioner Entrepreneurs in startup and growth. Awards include: 2012 AANP WA State NP Advocate of the Year. 2013 Inducted as a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.