Saint Martin’s program director to travel to Taiwan with focus on nurse practitioners

May 23, 2013

LACEY, Wash. – Louise Kaplan, Ph.D., ARNP, FAANP, director of the Saint Martin’s University RN-to-BSN nursing program, will travel to Taiwan next week to share her views on the roles and challenges of nurses and nurse practitioners, as well as the nursing profession, with faculty and students at the National Tainan Institute of Nursing.

nursingdirector Kaplan is also invited to share information about the Saint Martin’s RN-to-BSN program – the only such on-campus program between Tacoma and Vancouver – that she has directed since it opened to students in the fall 2012 semester.

“I want to highlight the important contributions nurses make to the health care profession, ” Kaplan says. “Nurses are the heart and soul of health care, and nursing education provides the next generation of nurses with the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to provide safe, quality care.”

“Being a nurse is an honor and a privilege as we share the most intimate moments of people’s lives, including birth and death.”

Part of Kaplan’s five-day visit will include her attendance as a guest speaker June 1 at the NTIN’s 60th anniversary celebration.

Kaplan says she is honored by the invitation from NTIN, a sister school to Saint Martin’s, which has hosted summer visits made by students of the institute.

“NTIN ranks number one among all 16 junior colleges in Taiwan. In addition, 95 percent of its graduates pass the registered nurse examination, which some schools in the United States would envy.”

Still, says Kaplan, “There is a huge issue with retention of nurses in Taiwan. Nurses there are overworked and underpaid.”

On May 31, Kaplan will make a presentation to students and faculty of the institute about the challenges hospitals in Taiwan and the U.S. face in retaining nurses, as well as potential solutions to the problem. In addition, she will meet with staff from a local hospital to talk about the role of the nurse practitioner in the United States.

“In Taiwan, there are nurses who are nurse practitioners but it is a very different role from what we have here,” she explains. “The nurse practitioner’s role in the U.S. varies from state to state. In Washington, nurse practitioners have completely independent practices, where they can provide comprehensive care in clinics, private offices and hospitals. Many nurse practitioners are primary care providers. They can practice and prescribe medication without any physician involvement in their practice. In Taiwan, they cannot prescribe medication and they still are required to have a doctor’s involvement.”

Kaplan will additionally share recommendations made in the Institute of Medicine’s 2010 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The report called for the education of nurses to respond to the needs of an evolving health care system and the changing needs of patients, and to meet the increased demand for health care as access improves. Washington’s Nursing Action Coalition, formed in response to the IOM report, is working to meet the report’s recommendation to increase the proportion of registered nurses (RN) with bachelor of science degrees to 80 percent by 2020.

Before joining Saint Martin’s, Kaplan served as a senior policy fellow at the American Nurses Association (ANA) in Silver Spring, Maryland. Prior to her role at the ANA, she was a tenured associate professor at Washington State University (WSU) Vancouver, and also taught at the University of Washington, Pacific Lutheran University and George Washington University.

Kaplan maintains an active clinical practice as a family nurse practitioner and has served in leadership positions for numerous local, state and national associations, committees, health task forces and advisory councils.

A published scholar, Kaplan is a fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, a member of the Washington State Nurses Association Hall of Fame and a winner of the Outstanding Policy Award from the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. She has received two Excellence in Teaching Awards from the WSU College of Nursing.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300 more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

For additional information:

Louise Kaplan, Ph.D.
Director, nursing program

Meg Nugent Dwyer
Media relations manager