Category Archives: Nurse practitioners
One of the key recommendations in the landmark Institute of Medicine report on the future of nursing is to advance access to primary care by reducing barriers to practice for nurses. Implementation of this recommendation is now one step closer, thanks to a provision in President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2015, which was released this month.
Obama’s budget includes a provision that would extend an increase in Medicaid payments for primary care providers for one year at a cost of about $5.4 billion, according to an article in USA Today. The extension would, for the first time, apply to nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs).
The Institute of Medicine recommended fixing this Medicaid “glitch” in its report on the future of nursing. The report is the foundation for the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a national effort backed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and AARP that is working to transform health care through nursing.
Obama’s budget proposal also calls for nearly $4 billion over six years to grow the National Health Services Corps (NHSC) from 8,900 primary care providers to at least 15,000 providers annually, starting in 2015, according to an analysis by the Campaign. Ten percent of the funding would be reserved for NPs and PAs.
Robin Knobel, PhD, RN, is an associate professor at the Duke University School of Nursing and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholar (2010-2013). The University of Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) School of Nursing recently recognized her with its Distinguished Alumna award.
Human Capital Blog: Congratulations on the award! What does it mean for you and for your research?
Robin Knobel: I was truly honored to receive this award from UNC-CH because it recognizes my achievement thus far in my career in my area of research around improving thermal stability with premature infants. I was given great support as a doctoral student at UNC-CH through mentorship in research from faculty who are leaders as nurse scientists. To be recognized by alumni and faculty of the UNC-CH School of Nursing is a tremendous honor.
HCB: You received the award for your research into physiologic processes related to thermoregulation and perfusion in extremely premature infants. Can you explain what this means in lay terms?
Knobel: Yes. Premature infants are born too early to be able to keep themselves warm through the normal methods of heat production. Normally, infants up to one year of age do this through a metabolic production of heat, instead of shivering. Premature infants lack necessary components to accomplish efficient production of heat and consequently can become very cold if exposed to cold air after birth and through stabilization in the neonatal unit. They often experience hypothermic body temperatures during the early weeks after birth, which can lead to instability and possible lasting insults such as brain hemorrhage, infection, or even death. My research is studying the mechanisms around thermal stability in premature infants and ways to prevent bad outcomes from hypothermia.
Have you signed up to receive Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge? The monthly Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) e-newsletter will keep you up to date on the work of the Foundation’s nursing programs, and the latest news, research, and trends relating to academic progression, leadership, and other essential nursing issues. Following are some of the stories in the February issue.
Preparing Nurses for Leadership in Public Policy
Many nurse education programs, including those that confer doctoral degrees, fall short in educating nurses about public policy, leaving them unprepared to maximize their expertise in policy arenas. To help change that, the RWJF Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico hosted a recent conference that brought together leading nurse educators, public policy experts, social scientists, and others. The goal was to identify and share effective ways to prepare students in doctoral (PhD and DNP) nursing programs to be health policy leaders. Talking to lawmakers is “high-stakes communication,” one speaker said, and nurses need to know how to do it.
Nurse Leader Urges Nurses to Study Political Science, Too
Nancy Ridenour, PhD, APRN, FAAN, has combined a lifelong passion for policy with a drive to improve public health. Throughout her career, she has fought state laws that prevented Nurse Practitioners from practicing to the top of their education and training, and spoken out on health policies affecting access to care for patients in rural communities. “Policy is a tool to foster social change. Leadership and expertise in health policy ensure that nursing expertise is used to improve the health of the nation,” Ridenour says.
Have you signed up to receive Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge? The monthly Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) e-newsletter will keep you up to date on the work of the foundation’s nursing programs, and the latest news, research, and trends relating to academic progression, leadership, and other essential nursing issues. These are some of the stories in the January issue:
Patients Slowly Gaining Access to Care Provided by Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
In recent years, several states have taken steps to ease restrictions on advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), indicating that efforts to empower them and improve patient access to care are picking up steam. However, many consumers still lack unfettered access to care provided by APRNs because two-thirds of states do not allow them to practice without physician supervision—and even in states that do, APRNs aren’t always able to practice independently.
Stronger Primary Care System Is Goal of RWJF Scholar
RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow Margaret Flinter, PhD, APRN, has been at the center of three movements: community-oriented primary care, the growth of the community health center movement, and the growth of nurse practitioners as primary care providers. She founded the country’s first formal post-graduate residency training program for new nurse practitioners, and co-directs The Primary Care Team: Learning from Effective Ambulatory Practices, a national project supported by RWJF that is working to help health care organizations develop and accelerate innovations.
Efforts to expand the role of nurse practitioners (NPs) to help address the country’s shortage of primary care providers have been bolstered by legislation in several states. But laws expanding scope of practice may not do all they could to relieve the nation’s primary care crisis, according to a new study by researchers at the Columbia University School of Nursing, which suggests that the culture in health care settings can impede full utilization of NPs.
The study, published in the Journal of Professional Nursing, was conducted in Massachusetts, where state health reform increased demand for primary care and legislation recognized NPs as primary care providers. Researchers found that gains made by government can be neutralized by formal and informal practices at health care organizations. For example, the study cited instances where NPs were not allowed to conduct physical assessments or see new patients.
“Organizational policies can often trump governmental policies, keeping the contribution of the nurse practitioner unrecognized and preventing them from making the fullest contribution possible to effective patient care,” lead researcher Lusine Poghosyan, PhD, RN, an assistant professor of nursing at Columbia and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar, said in a news release.
This is part of the January 2014 issue of Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge.
“Nurses are needed wherever people are, and we are positioned to deliver care. Since the nation is moving towards population care, health care will have to be delivered to those in the greatest amount of need. We can take care of individuals, families and the communities, and take all of these elements into consideration when we are conceptualizing this care. Nursing is the leader in orchestrating all of this.”
--Betty N. Adams, Dean, Prairie View A&M University College of Nursing, HBCUs Leading Next Generation of Minority Health Care Research, The Huffington Post, January 8, 2014
“Imagine being a working mother in rural Missouri with a sick child. He needs medical attention, but there are no doctors available within 50 miles. This situation is not a stretch: Many rural Missourians struggle to find nearby medical care. While nearly 40 percent of Missourians live in rural areas, less than 20 percent of the state’s primary care physicians practice in rural areas. There is a simple solution, one that Iowa employs: Give certified nurse practitioners more autonomy.... Whether it is a mother with a sick child or a 60-year-old man seeking care, nurse practitioners are competent providers.”
--Caitlin Hartsell, JD, MPH, former research assistant, The Show-Me Institute, Restrictions on Nurse Practitioners Hurt Missouri Health Care, The Columbia Missourian, January 7, 2014
Arthur Kellermann, MD, MPH, FACEP, an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars and Health Policy Fellows programs, is dean of the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He wrote an article in the November issue of Health Affairs calling for a new class of health care provider—the primary care technician—to improve accessibility to and affordability of primary care.
Human Capital Blog: What is the thrust of your idea?
Arthur Kellermann: We’ve had a decades-long shortage of primary care physicians in this country and, up until now, it has defied solution. One definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. My article suggests a rethinking, and literally a reengineering, of how we deliver primary care in this country. It makes the case for a new class of providers—primary care technicians (PCTs)—who would work remotely, under the online supervision of primary care physicians or nurse practitioners (NPs), to manage stable chronic disease patients, treat minor illnesses and injuries, and provide basic preventive services. These PCTs would make primary care more accessible, more convenient, and more affordable to Americans, wherever they live.
This is part of the December 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge.
Americans Favor Increased Access to Nurse Practitioners
A new telephone survey commissioned by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) shows strong support for increased access to care provided by nurse practitioners (NPs).
Among the survey's findings:
- A large majority favors removal of requirements that NPs work only under the supervision of physicians. Sixty-two percent of respondents support allowing NPs to prescribe medications and order diagnostic tests without such supervision. Just 17 states and the District of Columbia currently grant NPs full-practice authority, according to AANP.
- An overwhelming majority of Americans back legislation making it easier to choose NPs as their health care providers. Seventy percent of respondents favor legislation to eliminate barriers preventing patients from choosing NPs.
- There is widespread familiarity with NPs. Eighty percent of respondents have either seen an NP or know someone who has. More than half (53 percent) say a family member has seen one.
"These results clearly confirm what we have known anecdotally for years: American health care consumers trust NPs and want greater access to the safe, effective services they provide," AANP Co-President Ken Miller said in a news release.
The telephone survey was conducted by The Mellman Group, a Washington, D.C.-based polling firm. Its margin of error is +/-3.1 percent at the 95-percent level of confidence.
This is part of the September 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.
More New Nurse Practitioners Heading to Primary Care
Two recent analyses of workforce data offer new insights into the role nurse practitioners (NPs) are likely to play in combating the coming shortage of primary care providers in the U.S.
The first analysis, commissioned by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and released in August, finds that slightly more than half the nation’s nurse practitioners are practicing primary care. In all, 55,625 of the nation’s 106,073 nurse practitioners are in primary care, according to data drawn from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ National Provider Identifier database.
At the same time, an analysis of graduation trends conducted by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow alumna Debra Barksdale, PhD, RN, FAAN, and colleagues, finds that graduation rates for NPs suggest more help is on the way. According to Barksdale’s reading of data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, 84 percent of NP graduates in 2012 were prepared in primary care. That represents an eye-catching 18.6 percent increase from 2011 to 2012.
Lori Melichar Gadkari, PhD, MA, is a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), in the Research and Evaluation Unit.
Yesterday the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study co-funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “Perspectives of Physicians and Nurse Practitioners on Primary Care Practice” finds that 96 percent of nurse practitioners and 76 percent of physicians agreed with the Institute of Medicine report recommendation that “nurse practitioners should be able to practice to the full extent of their education and training.” The new study is authored by Karen Donelan, ScD, EdM, Catherine M. DesRoches, DrPH, Robert S. Dittus, MD, MPH, and Peter Buerhaus, PhD, RN.
When asked how increasing the supply of nurse practitioners would potentially affect the United States health care system, the authors found that the majority of physicians (73%) said increasing the supply of primary care nurse practitioners (PCNPs) would lead to improvements in the timeliness of care. A much smaller majority of physicians (52%) said increasing the supply of PCNPs would lead to improvements in access to care for people in the country.
However, the new survey found significant disagreement between primary care physicians and PCNPs about whether increasing the supply of PCNPs would improve patient safety and the effectiveness of care, and whether it would reduce costs. There was also a large professional divide about proposed changes to PCNPs’ scope of practice, putting PCNPs in leadership roles, and the quality of care that PCNPs provide.