Although the economy reported a slow job growth rate in March, nurses need not worry. The imminent healthcare reform will bring an onslaught of new patients while putting a strain on our current medical system, as reported in this article. President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act will extend health benefits to a growing number of working people who simply cannot afford coverage for themselves or their family. However, with the already drastic shortage of primary care physicians (PCPs) and their overstretched schedules, will the medical system survive?
Sure it will. With some forward thinking, that is. Why see a doctor for a routine office visit when there are advanced practice nurses or nurse practitioners (NPs) who are capable? Health care experts view these highly-trained professionals as a solution to the PCP shortage. Studies have already proven that there are no significant differences in patients who treated by MDs or NPs. Along with improvements to nursing education, could this truly work?
Nothing is ever quite that simple. While the AARP and state legislatures consider easing up on regulations that limit the independence of NPs, arguments between some physicians groups, trying to protect the sovereignty of traditional practice, and advanced practice nurse committees may slow this movement. Lawsuits have already been filed in California, Colorado and Iowa to debate whether or not NPs should be granted greater responsibility.
Unfortunately, these court battles are counter productive to finding a solution for the looming demand of patients in need of preventative care. What do you think about this development?