The role of nurse practitioner was established back in the 1960s, though it took until 1994 for nurse practitioners to be granted full practice authority for the first time by five states in the United States.
Now almost half the states in the U.S. have given family nurse practitioners full practice authority rights. The expansion having been contributed to a number of different factors including the quality of the care that is provided by certified family nurse practitioners (fnp c), which is on a similar level to that of physicians. Online courses in nursing can be studied at Wilkes University.
The healthcare system in the US has been further strained by the COVID-19 pandemic, and family nurse practitioners have been called upon to use the full extent of their training to help alleviate the conditions of the pandemic.
The role of family nurse practitioners
Concentrating on family practices, family nurse practitioners offer comprehensive health services to patients of any age, with day to day duties including evaluating medical conditions, treating primary care conditions, using lifestyle changes and treatment to promote good health and educating patients on the prevention of disease. What’s more, thanks to the development of online education, family nurse practitioners can always stay up to date with the latest practices in first aid training by taking flexible online courses, thus improving their skills and the level of patient care.
Family nurse practitioners were among the first to volunteer to serve on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, particularly in New York, and they have continued to provide assistance all across the nation.
Many family nurse practitioners have left their own practices to help with the diagnosis and treatment of the disease in outpatient settings and have also served as acute care practitioners in hospitals, helping with the management of patients who are acutely ill and on ventilators.
Family nurse practitioners initially faced many challenges that were also shared by other health practitioners such as a shortage of personal protective gear, and ever-changing guidelines on care from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The problems have lessened with improved supplies and the participation of private labs providing more testing for the virus.
The continuing challenges
A recent survey from the AANP found many family nurse practitioners reporting that their practices were now more able to cope with COVID-19 patients than had been the case when the pandemic first began, although some challenges still remain.
Testing remains limited to certain sets of criteria in regard to eligibility in some areas, with some places in the United States still lacking sufficient supplies. Some institutional restrictions are also causing problems.
Outdated practice guidelines for family nurse practitioners in some states have also proved a challenge. Some states insist that they need to be in a collaborative practice agreement with physicians containing certain provisions, despite there being no evidence that such agreements improve access to or quality of care.
Emergency waivers have been issued by some states to overcome this during the pandemic, allowing family nurse practitioners to improve access to care and increase their capacity.
The pandemic has certainly increased awareness of the important role played by family nurse practitioners in society.