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The Rising Importance Of Nurse Practitioners

Discussion in 'Nursing' started by Mahmoud Abudeif, Mar 31, 2021.

  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

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    Nurse practitioners (NPs) are a vital component of the modern healthcare system, and their importance only continues to grow as more and more U.S. citizens find themselves in need of affordable, accessible healthcare. Nurse practitioners are technologically savvy and capable of taking on many tasks that have long been attributed to doctors. There is no telling what the U.S. healthcare system’s needs will be tomorrow, but today NPs are on the front lines addressing the most pressing issues.

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    Nurse Practitioners Are Closing Healthcare Gaps

    The U.S. is currently experiencing a massive shortage of registered nurses (RNs) which presents a problem for the rapidly aging baby boomers. With a huge generation entering the 65+ age range en masse, the need for healthcare is mounting quickly. Coupled with the fact that there are now millions more Americans with insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, there simply aren’t enough RNs to keep up with the demand.

    Fortunately, NPs are more than capable of filling in where RNs aren’t able. Nurse practitioners aren’t just filling in for RNs either; as more and more physicians become highly specialized, it is creating another gap in primary healthcare which, once again, NPs are bridging. Nurse practitioners are capable of more autonomy than an RN and are able to diagnose and treat illnesses as well as prescribe medicine. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, NPs are the perfect solution to preventative, primary care because they are far more plentiful than physicians and capable of doing more in a medical setting than an RN.

    Nurse Practitioners are also capable of specialization that can further address healthcare gaps for underserved groups. For example, Women’s Healthcare Nurse Practitioners, or WHNPs, are uniquely suited and trained to take care of the healthcare needs of women, no matter where they might be. From schools and universities to community health centers, specialized NPs like WHNPs are there to ensure that specialized healthcare needs are met.

    Rural Areas Rely On Nurse Practitioners

    One of the greatest aspects of being an NP is the ability to travel wherever healthcare needs are greatest. Not only does this provide NPs with a level of freedom that many other medical professionals lack, it also allows them to travel to more remote and rural areas in order to provide vital medical services to those in need.

    Rural communities often rely exclusively on traveling NPs as, according to the American Journal of Managed Care, they are their main source of primary care as there may not be a hospital or clinic within miles rendering healthcare of any sort inaccessible to lower-income families that lack the necessary transportation. Another benefit of NPs servicing more rural areas is that, while they are able to perform many of the same tasks and services as a primary care physician, they can do so at less cost to the patient.

    Population health is a major concern for NPs who provide healthcare services to rural communities and they often seek to find out what specific needs a particular rural population might need that another could do without. This allows them to cater their care to the population they are treating and determine what aspects of preventative care to really drive home for their patients. Nurse practitioners who understand the collective needs of a rural population are able to provide higher quality care than hospitals and healthcare centers miles away in more populated areas as they are dealing with an entirely different population whose needs can vary wildly.

    When it comes down to it, NPs are becoming more important in America because not only are people living longer, but the number of people with healthcare coverage has skyrocketed in the last decade. The NPs that are caring for U.S. citizens across the country, whether on a university campus or in the rural backwoods, are doing so out of necessity. While this issue might resolve itself in the coming years, for now, NPs are doing the hard work of ensuring that as many people get the best healthcare that they can.

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