Friday, April 25, 2008

Front Lines

There are 2 notable articles that I've come across that highlight initiatives by nurse practitioners to deliver care to relatively under-served populations.

The first is from a program out of Norwegian American Hospital in Illinois. Their "Care-A-Van" is a mobile unit, staffed by pediatric nurse practitioner Patricia Carr, that will visit area schools and provide the following services, all for free: ..."routine child immunizations, required physicals, hearing and vision screenings, pulmonary function testing, asthma assessments, childhood health promotions, in addition to injury prevention and education." What a wonderful opportunity for NP-directed care.

The second article is about nurse practitioner, Melanie Ryan Morris, owner and operator of The Cure Health and Wellness clinic in Texas. "The clinic focuses in preventative health care for working-class patients -- both uninsured and insured -- and particularly women." The location of her clinic was specifically chosen to provide access primarily to the small business workers in the community. The majority of her visits thus far have consisted of STI screenings and women's health exams.

It is wonderful to see nurse practitioners on the front lines of health care providing desperately needed access. Though, I'd like to see more acceptance for NPs providing care to all, not just the under-served. Its disconcerting when the attitude towards NPs caring primarily for the under-served is "its better than no care at all." Why is it OK to care for these folks? Is it because they aren't important enough?

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