Finally in this week’s news, another item on Nurse Practitioners. Nurse Practitioners are in the news so much lately because there are so many people seeking a primary care home for insurance purposes and in many places, the only available resource might be a nurse practitioner.
Oregon NP Leads the Way
I found a great article on one such nursing practice in Eugene, Oregon where family nurse practitioner Mary Fey has set up shop to care for an underserved community in her area. She’s the only primary care resource for 30 miles in any direction and when doctor’s are in short supply (and maybe even where they aren’t) a nurse practitioner might be the best option for primary care for you and your family.
Numbers support this. One group of experts estimates the shortage of primary care doctors to be greater than 9,000, with that number expected to increase to more than 65,000 short in just 10 years! Nurses are going to have to fill that gap and in some states, they already are.
Changing State Nurse Practice Acts
Some states are ahead of others in adjusting the nurse practice acts to align with the updated need. But we know that not all states are as progressive and physician groups are rigorously opposing changes that would allow nurses to act more autonomously in primary care and other settings.
The fact of the matter is, we aren’t very vocal when supporting these changes. Take a moment and contact your state legislators to let them know your thoughts on the matter. Put yourself on record in support of increased nurse practitioner scope in your state and let’s put the patient’s first and stop listening to the scare tactics of doctors worried about the impact on their bottom line.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Affordable Care Act, Public Health and Episode 258.