About | Patient Advocates



To Empower People in Their Healthcare Through Advocacy, Education, and Guidance Through the Healthcare System.

RN Patient Advocates, PLC History

Founded in 2002 by owner and CEO Karen Mercereau, RN, iRNPA, RN Patient Advocates, PLC has emerged as the national leader in RN Patient Advocacy education and professional development. The company was created as a independent RN Patient Advocacy practice, one of the first of its kind in the country. For seven years, Karen refined and clarified her nursing model into what emerged as the Patient Advocacy Process © and she established where this new nursing model fit in to the existing healthcare system.

Clients and their families, as well as doctors and care teams, swiftly embraced this new nursing role as independent RN Patient Advocacy began to demonstrate an incredible value to achieving the best health care outcomes - patient by patient. In addition to operating a thriving independent practice, RN Patient Advocates, PLC began receiving inquiries from nurses across the country interested in RN Patient Advocacy. Nurses were frustrated by a healthcare system filled with misdiagnoses, failed treatments, unneeded escalation of medical problems and work contexts that prevented them from providing the best possible care. RNs wanted to learn the Patient Advocacy Process © and how to enter this burgeoning profession.

In 2005, RN Patient Advocates, PLC, expanded its scope of work to include the development of the independent RN Patient Advocate profession at a national level. Academic RNs with experience writing medical education curricula and syllabi, collaborated with Karen to transform the Patient Advocacy Process ©, into an teachable model and create the first RN Patient Advocacy education program for clinical RNs.

Learning Intensive History

In 2009, five graduates completed the first RNPA Learning Intensive as RN Patient Advocate Pioneers. The workshop class revealed that in addition to the Learning Intensive, iRNPAs would need an ongoing way to affiliate, collaborate and grow the profession at a national level and the concept of the National Network of RN Patient Advocates was created.

Shortly after the first class, Karen had the opportunity to present her education program to the University of Arizona College of Nursing. Dean Shaver and the College quickly recognized the RN Patient Advocate Learning Intensive as an outstanding learning opportunity and invited RN Patient Advocates, PLC to partner with their career development and continuing education offerings.

Partnership with the University of Arizona accelerated the RNPA Learning Intensive into the leading professional development class for RNs ready to enter the exciting field of Patient Advocacy, and in 2011 the Learning Intensive grew from a residential immersion course to include the online education component through the University’s electronic learning platform.

    RN Patient Advocates, PLC is a nationally recognized leader in the field of RN Patient Advocate education and the only program partnered with a leading university-based college of nursing. “This program has been developed [...] by Karen Mercereau, RN, iRNPA, a nationally recognized visionary leader in healthcare”.
    ~ Joan L. Shaver, PhD, RN, FAAN


In 2017, RN Patient Advocates, PLC, graduated their 10th class of iRNPAs. There are two Learning Intensives in 2016, Class #9 completed their residential in January 2016. There are now more than 150 RNPA Learning Intensive graduates spread out across the country. The curriculum continues to evolve and grow, recognizing nursing as a dynamic process that must continually adjust to ever-shifting climate of healthcare delivery. You can join the league of bold and incredible RNs who have attended the Learning Intensive and now deliver Pure Nursing as independent RN Patient Advocates.

RN Patient Advocates, PLC, continues to focus on development of RN Patient Advocacy at a national level. In addition to ongoing development of the RNPA Learning Intensive, the company has refocused on the National Network of RN Patient Advocates with the addition of many new benefits. Additionally, RN Patient Advocates, PLC is working to grow and develop Career Options and other professional opportunities.

Graduates Experience

    “In a year’s time after taking the RNPA Learning Intensive, my career, my health, my family, my very life has been transformed. I am forever grateful.” — Karen DiMarco, RN, iRNPA

    “The way of the future of nursing...an absolute must if you want to make and be the difference in righting the wrongs of healthcare. Kare is a wonderful mentor who has put her soul into this program. Passion, Vision, Perseverance.” — Lana Benton, RN, iRNPA

    “The forethought, experience, openness, philosophy and preparation provides all the tools, thought process, and confidence to begin and succeed as an iRNPA.” — Leta Gill, RN, iRNPA

    “My experience attending the iRNPA program was a refreshing one, to say the least. This program was packed with life changing information that is not readily taught or available to RN's. This program equipped me with the tools I need to be an iRNPA!  If you are ready for a change after working for many years in the clinical setting and are driven to help patients and families, this is the program for you!  Karen is a wealth of knowledge that is unmatched in the advocacy process.” — Jamie Long, RN, iRNPA

    “Thank you so much for putting together such an incredible RN PA intensive course!  It is truly intensive but so worth it!  I learned a lot and will be using the Medical Time Line and lab spreadsheet with as many clients as I can.  All great information and can’t wait to get my speaking engagements lined up now that I have your fantastic power points!”
    Nan Wetherhorn, RN, BSN, iRNPA
    Health Care Advisor

Karen Mercereau

Karen Mercereau, RN, iRNPA started clinical practice at Georgetown University 1968. She has practiced with a lifelong passion for ensuring that her patients are fully educated about their healthcare options and receive the best care possible. Unsatisfied with the status quo she honed an expertise for moving her patients effectively through the healthcare system. This focus led her to such diverse activities as serving as clinical instructor to paramedics, working with a team to establish the first hospice in Arizona, and specializing in the intensive care areas of hospitals.

Karen led a nationally recognized task force on RN Credentialing to provide a career path for RN’s reflecting both academic and clinical experiences. She practiced her clinical skills as well as creating new healthcare delivery systems. This creative approach also served Karen as she led a consortium of private and public sector healthcare providers to establish delivery systems for HIV-AIDS patients in the time before government recognition of the disease.

By 2002 she had become utterly frustrated by the inability to advocate effectively for her patients. Bound by hospital and health-plan restrictions and overwhelming clinical responsibilities and time constraints, she decided to opt for direct patient centered advocacy – through an independent practice.

By founding RN Patient Advocates, PLC, Karen was finally able to integrate her clinical, academic, and entrepreneurial skills as an iRNPA. Her care model demonstrated improved safety through communication and education of both hospitalized and community-based patients, and her Advocacy Process © grew into teachable model of Nursing Care and a solution to navigating the broken healthcare system. Karen lives in Arizona and continues to devote her life to empowering her patients and the RNPA profession.

Affiliations and Awards

  • Pioneer Award: National Association of Women Business Owners 2005
  • Purpose Prize Fellowship 2010
  • Fabulous 50 RN program in Tucson, AZ
  • Jointly provided by the University of Arizona College of Nursing, Tucson, AZ
  • The International Nurses Association Recognizes Karen Mercereau as World Wide Leader in Healthcare and as a Top RN in the US 2016
  • Ken Schueler Patient Advocacy Award 2016

Karen's Story
Who actually sits down with patients and their families to explain the different diagnostic approaches and treatments available, and how informed are they when they sign on the dotted line? How do patients and families make complex medical choices that directly impact the quality and quantity of their lives? Everywhere I worked as a Clinical Nurse I felt there was a component missing from patient care.

No one was facilitating communication between all aspects of a patient's care team to ensure that all specialists were aware of a patient's full history, treatments, and medications…..Read More