Celebrate National Nurse Practitioner Week!
National Nurse Practitioner Week is celebrated between November 11th-November 17th. Nurse Practitioner Week is an excellent time to celebrate our many accomplishments and to continue to proclaim that nationally we represent collectively more than 155,000 solutions to the current health care situation! The theme and message this year from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners is: Nurse Practitioners are Informed, In touch and Involved!
We are proud to recognize the talented, hardworking, caring and compassionate Nurse Practitioners here in the state of Florida. You are practicing in some of the most exciting and challenging times in health care in this country. We are facing a primary care crisis of epic proportions and Nurse Practitioners are well prepared to fill this vast need. You have the knowledge, skills and attitudes that allow you to work with individuals, families and communities to foster primary preventative and health promoting activities. Unfortunately barriers exist that must be overcome so that we can help be the solution to America’s healthcare crisis.
One of the greatest challenges is public perception. Patients may not realize that the person treating them is an NP, or they may not understand the scope of practice and high level of care a NP can offer. Additionally, some states limit the NP scope of practice and may require that they work under some type of collaborative agreement with a physician.
“In many states, an NP’s scope of practice is limited due to obsolete language in legislation and in some states there is pressure from the medical community to keep the scope limited,” noted Jan Towers, Director of Health Policy, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. “We are working to get obsolete laws off the books so we can practice as we are prepared to practice.”
The Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report on nursing practice (2010) strongly recommends nurses be allowed to function at their highest level of practice. The Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Model Act (APRN Consensus Model) proposes a model for scope of practice, educational and certification requirements that are uniform in all states and allow NPs to start practicing consistently in all 50 states. This requires legislative and regulatory changes and really necessitates that the state-level NP professional organizations start grass roots efforts. The Florida Nurse Practitioner Network is actively working to promote grass roots activism. To be successful all NP’s must put forth efforts using their resources to participate at the local level and to become an active member of your professional organizations (local, state and national).
It is exciting to be an NP right now, as this may be the first time in history that everyone is looking at the profession. We need to stand up and accept this charge; showing the public and our professional colleagues what we can do when we are allowed to practice and to provide care to the fullest extent of our education and clinical training. So once again, celebrate the week by advocating for your profession and changing public perception. Let’s show that we can be the solution to better health for Floridians and Americans.
For more information on nurse practitioners and National Nurse Practitioner Week, visit the AANP site at www.aanp.org.
Thank you for your support and advocacy of Nurse Practitioners.
The Florida Nurse Practitioner Network Board of Directors.