On this episode of SAGEClinician, I talk about Nurse Practitioners, and share a few soundbites I recorded at the AANP Speciality and Leadership Conference held last month in Naples Florida.
Nurse Practitioner shave been around for close to 50 years. All of us are nurses, most all of us have extensive experience as nurses before we return to school for additional education and training. Initially, we took certificate courses that may last a year, but formally years now, the minimum education has been a masters degree. There is now a new mandate for the doctoral level of education to be entry into practice and many NPs have returned to school to obtain the Doctor of Nurse Practice.
Currently there are approx 192K Nurse Practitioners practicing in the US. This number continues to grow as programs are graduating students all the time. Nurse Practitioner are not just in the US, but there is a growing movement to utilize NPs in many countries around the world.
What do we do?
Briefly, NPs provide care to patients of all ages from all walks of life and a variety of settings, which I’ll talk about in a moment. We assess our patients, order and interpret diagnostic tests, make diagnosis and initial and manage treatment plans including prescribing medication and performing procedures. I believe one of the most important things we do for our patients is to really listen to what they are say, and what they are showing us. We involved patients in their care and it shows.
Nurse practitioners work in all areas of healthcare. Our scope of practice varies with the type of nurse practitioner we are. For example: psychiatric NPs, adult-hero NP, acute-care, women’s health care, family practice, and pediatrics. We are in acute care environments hospitals, critical care units, trauma, surgery, etc) as well as outpatient settings. We are in college health, primary care practice, speciality care practices, long term care and the home. Many of us are employed by hospitals, large heatlhcare organizations, smaller practice, universities and more. Many of now have our own practices.
Full Practice Authority
At the time of this recording Nov 2014, we have full practice authority in 19 states plus the dis of columbia. What that means is that we can practice without physician involvement in our practice. That means I can write assess, diagnosis and treat my patients, including writing prescriptions without having to involve a physician. Many states require formal collaborative agreements and/or supervision of practice.
But let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I know this is never far from anyones mind.
My Opinion on Collaboration
Even though many of us talk about full practice authority and independent practice, I believe I am safe to say that no one practices in isolation. In fact, I don’t believe there is a healthcare provider who is alive and practice, who practices in a silo, practices completely independently of other providers. We all call our colleagues when we need a patient looked at, we need a second opinion or we need that speciality consult. All of us put our patients first. That’s why we are there. Collaboration is built in to practice. There is no need to have an additional barrier that limits a persons access to healthcare. Period.
Okay, I’m stepping down off my soapbox now. But before we listen to the sound bites,I just want to say if you need more information about Nurse Practitioner practice, in far more detail that I’ve given you here, visit the American Association of Nurse Practitioners website . You’ll find links to studies, current practice acts in the different states and also sorts of policy and legislative information.
Nurse Practitioner Sound Bites
Thank you to the following NPs for agreeing to be recorded and published on the SAGEClinician Podcast!
- Arlene Barrett, FNP, Ft Lauderdale, Florida
- Deborah Gray, DNP, ANP-BC, FNP-C, Norfolk, VA
- Kathleen Gates, FNP-C, Cheyenne, WY
- Rachel Silva, DNP, New York