Nurse Practitioners High in Demand at Primary Care Centers

Many states have been considering options to increase the number of primary care providers in purview of growth in aging population and health insurance sector. More than 16 million individuals are projected to get health insurance coverage by 2016 and the number may go beyond.

In a move to meet the demand for primary care providers, states may reconsider their existing laws about allowing Nurse Practitioners (NP) in primary care. In the United States, currently, 16 states and the District of Columbia allow NPs to practice independently of a physician. NPs could contribute a lot if other states also consider allowing them in primary care. The Nurse Practitioners are well trained and qualified enough to provide diagnosis and treatment of acute illness and chronic condition.

States have been regulating the practice of medicine in the United States. There has been no consensus over the issue of allowing NPs due to their respective law of governing related to healthcare professionals. In order to meet the demand for primary care professionals, states could focus on reexamining their existing rules and regulations in this regard.

NPs, certified registered nurses, have been practicing in a variety of population focusing in the areas of family practice, pediatrics, women’s health and geriatrics. The number of Nurse Practitioners is likely to increase many fold in next 10 years. The states could capitalize the growing number of healthcare professionals by amending their existing governing laws related to NP practices.

As per AANP, 86.5% of NPs are trained in primary care and they could contribute a lot to the primary care workforce in the United States.

In the case of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), there are also differences among states regarding practices and legislation. Six states have fully implemented APRN Consensus Model whereas 10 other states have been considering the legislation. Currently, 267,000 APRNs represent a powerful force in the U.S. health care system.

States could meet the demand for more primary care professionals by liberating governing laws over practice of NP healthcare sector.

5 Facts about Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners (NP) have been providing primary care services amid shortage of physicians in the United States. As per the estimation of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), more than 205,000 nurse practitioners have been licensed till date. 99.3 percent of NPs are nationally certified and 98.7 percent of NPs have graduate degrees.

NPs are registered nurses who are well trained, educated to provide diagnosis and treatment of acute illness and chronic condition. NPs do posses complex decision-making skills and clinical competencies; those make them different from other nurses.

Here are 5 Facts about the Nurse Practitioners:

Primary Care: Most of the Nurse Practitioners have been working in primary care unlike registered nurses those are into all areas of healthcare. As per AANP, 86.5% of NPs are prepared in primary care. The U.S. primary care workforce includes around 56,000 as per statistics issued by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD in October 2014.

Quality Care: NPs are licensed to practice independently and have ability to diagnose patients, prescribe treatment and medication. They have been providing quality care like physicians and take charge of patients’ overall care. As mentioned in the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner issued on April 2010 stated that NPs provided high quality cares to patients no single case of lapses were reported.

Not to Replace Physicians: It has been considered by most that the growing number of NPs could drive away physicians’ practices or reduce their salaries. In fact, many studies  showed that the growing number of NPs would not have impact on the salaries of the physicians. The salaries of physicians are at par with NPs; but in some other states, the salaries of physicians are better than of NPs.

Medical Malpractice Cases: NPs have been providing high quality care to patients as it is evident from the less number of malpractice cases reported against them. Only 2 percent of NPs have been named defendants in medical malpractice cases. NPs have been offering patient-centered care by educating them about their lifestyle choices and healthcare decisions. Patients do prefer more care from NPs considering less medical malpractice rates against them. On the other hand, malpractice cases are high in nursing homes and centers in the United States.

Increasing Numbers: The number of nurses becoming NPs has been increasing significantly in the United States. According to AANP, currently 190,000 NPs are practicing in the country, where as the number was estimated at around 171,000 and 106,000 in 2013 and 2010 respectively. AANP estimates the number of NPs is likely to reach to 244,000 by 2025.

5 Things to know about a Neonatal Care Nurse

1. Neonatal nursing is the provision of nursing care for newborn babies up to 28 days after birth. There are four different levels of neonatal nursing. Level I ensures care for healthy newborns. They typically share a room with their mother. Level II provides special care to premature or ailing newborn babies. Nursing staff provides the special therapy if needed.

Level III is the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where newborns are provided with breathing and feeding tubes 90% of the NICU staff are nurses. Level IV treats most critical and complex newborns with the help of neonatolists and surgeons.

2. Neonatal Nurses can work either within the community or in specialist neonatal units. Specializations for this field may vary in three levels–Level I, Level II, and Level III. Level IV is mostly for highly skilled medical professionals such as neonatolists and surgeons.

3. Neonatal Nurses take care of premature babies having specific health concerns such as cardiovascular and respiratory problems. As these are life-threatening for an infant, their responsibilities increase manifold.

4. Another key function of a Neonatal Nurse is to console the parents in times of stress and anxiety. They encourage parents and family members during the critical care and motivate them to gain strength and take care of the infants.

5. The Neonatal Nurses are trained professionals. They go through three paths before becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) – Diploma programs, Associate Degree and Bachelor’s Degree. In addition, they get a license, as all states in the U.S. require all RNs to be licensed. In most cases, they are required to gain experience working with children or infants prior to being hired. Certification is another optional step, but most nurses undertake this to boost their career and profile.