Advanced practice nurses are becoming more in-demand and healthcare reform has been the catalyst to send the booming career field into the spotlight.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s associate nursing officer, April Kapu explains that the United States has the most expensive health care in the world and the need for more affordable care can be filled by allowing nurse practitioners to perform the duties for which they are trained.
Kapu also says that today’s patient has more questions about their health care than ever before and patient visits tend to be longer in nature. Nurse practitioners are now able to be on the front-line in providing treatment, and in many states are able to practice without physician supervision.
Their numbers have grown at hospitals and clinics around the country during the last decade. Vanderbilt University had only about 100 advanced practice nurses on staff during 2003-04 and now staffs almost 750.
As health care continues to evolve, nurse practitioners are at the forefront of change as more and more states pass laws allowing them to practice to the full extent of their education. Dean of Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia, Chris Hulin says that the role of the nurse practitioner continues to become more important with the increased need to provide cost effective care.
Some hospitals offer tuition reimbursement to employees who pursue advanced practice nursing accreditation. One-on-one patient care is just one advantage of the advanced education. Some nurses use it as a stepping stone to management level positions as well.
Kim Estep, Western Governors University chancellor, summed up the value of advanced practice nurses in terms of the education they have, and how this has contributed to their advanced capabilities when saying, “Nurses are in general, more highly educated than ever before.”