Nursing

News spotlight: Nurse practitioners key to healthcare reform

Nurse Leader Insider, February 27, 2012

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Nurse practitioners could play an essential role in minimizing the impact of a shortage in primary care physicians, according to an opinion piece by Patricia Dennehy, RN, NP, in the Los Angeles Times. Many physicians  are leaving primary care in pursuit of specialties, which offer better pay and greater incentives. Nurse practitioners have the education and training necessary for conducting physical exams, prescribing and managing medication, interpreting lab results, and diagnosing most problems, just as a primary care physician would, notes Dennehy.

The clinic where Dennehy works is federally funded, with nurse practitioners providing the majority of the care. Similar clinics across the country offer affordable primary and preventative care, which improves community health while keeping costs low, according to Dennehy. She calls for a reform of the policies that prevent private health plans from contracting with nurse practitioners, and believes that contracting with nurse practitioners in larger numbers will improve the availability of health services and greatly benefit the community.
 
Source: Los Angeles Times 



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