Twice as many patients can be treated when an advanced-practice nurse joins a medical staff.
These laws will allow a child crying with an earache or a hypertensive patient out of medication to receive on-site primary care from a qualified advanced-practice nurse in a timely and cost-efficient manner.
Why, then, would anyone challenge the advantages of having advanced-practice nurses provide primary health-care services, as the American Medical Association decided to do at its 2007 annual meeting recently in Chicago?
As a Harvard Business School faculty member recently told a class, physicians should focus on complex medical cases and allow advanced-practice nurses and physician assistants to provide the primary care that they do so well.
Many times, these visits are caused by a lack of preventive health care and insufficient chronic-disease management--primary care services that easily could be provided by advanced-practice nurses. This is a curious statistic since Pennsylvania has approximately 11,000 advanced-practice nurses who hold a minimum of a master's degree and often a doctoral degree and who have advanced clinical skills, experience and specialty certification.
Enright, Ph.D., of Jacson, Wyo., recently earned a degree as an advanced-practice nurse so that he can prescribe, a strategy that he found "high on education and low on conflict" with psychiatrists or other physicians.
Advanced-practice nurses can prescribe independently in at least 28 states and can prescribe under physician supervision in 50 states.
The one-year certificate program intends to help 20 advanced-practice nurses
meet the growing demand for primary care, especially at community clinics.