Nurse Practitioners Provide Solution to Shortage of Primary Health Providers
With the United States facing a growing shortage of primary health care providers, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) today announced a national campaign to increase public awareness of the critical role nurse practitioners (NPs) play in the American health care system.
The president of AANP, Penny Kaye Jensen, who holds a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, explained, "Four decades of research demonstrate that nurse practitioners provide high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care with excellent outcomes. A fully enabled nurse practitioner workforce will increase access to quality health care; improve outcomes; and make the health care system more affordable for patients all across America.
"As we brace for the influx of an anticipated 32 million Americans who will join the rolls of the insured upon enactment of the Affordable Care Act, we are facing a health care crisis of unmatched proportions. With the number of physicians who provide primary care on the steep decline, AANP is launching this effort to educate Americans that nurse practitioners offer a viable, professional and compassionate health care alternative. AANP is proud to take the lead in this effort," Dr. Jensen added.
With advanced degrees at the Master's and Doctoral levels, the nation's 155,000 nurse practitioners are skilled diagnosticians and clinicians who treat acute and chronic illness, and prescribe medications. Eighty-nine percent specialize in primary care fields, including gerontology, pediatrics, women's health and family care. Many work in under-served rural communities. The extent to which NPs can practice autonomously, however, varies widely from state to state and is governed by local regulations and law.
Through aggressive and strategic media, advertising and Public Service Announcement campaigns, AANP will aim to increase awareness among Americans and insurance providers that nurse practitioners are licensed, qualified and capable primary care providers.
AANP will also undertake a community-based grassroots education campaign wherein members will routinely visit local community organizations, rotary clubs, church groups, community fairs, health expos and the like, where they will discuss local nurse practitioner resources and provide valuable information about how patients can find a local NP as a primary care provider.
Facts about Nurse Practitioners
>> There are approximately 155,000 nurse practitioners in the US today
>> Nurse practitioners are skilled diagnosticians and clinicians who treat acute and chronic illness and prescribe medication
>> 88 percent of NPs specialize in primary care
>> More than 26,600 (or 18 percent) practice in underserved rural or frontier settings