Monday, July 30, 2012

Repost: Let Us Be Heard

I started this blog, A Nurse Practitioner’s View, 3 years ago because there were very few health stories that even mentioned nurse practitioners as part of the health care landscape. Right before I started the blog, I would respond to other health policy articles published on the Web by writing comments to the websites – only to be subjected to baseless and factually incorrect statements. It was soon thereafter that I decided I would write my own perspective on health policy, trends, and news. I also felt it important from a credibility aspect to not blog anonymously but to put my name on it.
I recall those few early blog posts that I proudly wrote and would feverishly check my blog visitor stats to see if people were reading. Well, it was a bit slow going in the beginning with about 10 – 15 readers but as they say, “if you build it, they will come.” Today, the blog enjoys hundreds of visits a day, has a Facebook following, has enabled me to be “discovered” to blog at Online Nurse Practitioner Programs, and I have communicated with people across the country.
I hold a sense of satisfaction that today, nurse practitioners are readily referred to in articles as one of the possible solutions to the healthcare system (not that I attribute it solely to my blog of course) through the body of evidence and hard work that each nurse practitioner performs every day. We have also seen great advocacy efforts at the Federal and State level by our nurse practitioner organizations, and let us not forget the IOM landmark report,The Future of Nursing published in 2010.
While there is still opposition out there about the role nurse practitioners should perform (and I imagine this will always be the case in some way), we are part of that conversation. You can imagine my utter disappointment when I read yesterday’s New York Times front page article, “Doctor Shortage Likely To Worsen With Health Law” and the only mention of NPs was towards the end of the article:
“Dr. Smith said building more walk-in clinics, allowing nurses to provide more care and encouraging doctors to work in teams would all be part of the answer. “
Did you catch that? “Allowing nurses to provide more care.”  I assume that’s the part referring to nurse practitioners. Today, in 2012, I would think that when there is talk about the current and future state of health care, the conversation about health care would be more inclusive of the actual professions comprising the health care system.
Our health system simply cannot continue with the status quo and present the primary solution being “graduate more doctors.” New care models, health information technology enabling more efficient and cost-effective care, increased patient engagement, enhanced payment structure and yes, even the use of nurse practitioners must be the embedded in that conversation.
Now is the time for nurse practitioners to be heard. I invite every nurse practitioner, nurse practitioner student and patient partnered with a nurse practitioner to write to the NY Times to present a viable alternative to “graduate more doctors.” With over 160,000 nurse practitioners across the United States, now is not the time for silence, but is the time for all stakeholders to understand the solution that NPs offer (and will be even more so when out-dated and unnecessary practice barriers are removed).
I am writing and e-mailing ( my letter today to the NY Times to shine some nurse practitioner light on the gloom and doom scenario presented in the article on the future of health care providers. Please consider joining me in writing one too. Let us be heard.
This post was first published at Online Nurse Practitioner Programs


Candi said...

Is it my misconception or does the NY Times always seem to skew their articles in favor of MD's? Very frustrating.

Jane Morai said...

Thanks for sharing you story and this blog. It's great to get an informative view from a nurse practitioners view. I really enjoy reading interesting stories from nurses and i'm glad to see your writing for some highly established publicists

Leif@NPPrograms said...

Two things:
One it is a great and inspiring thing to read about your journey upwards into blogging success and recognition (from just making comments a few years ago).
Secondly, wasn't there a recent bill introduced to require a doctoral degree in order to become a Nurse Practitioner?


Stephen Ferrara, DNP, RN, NP said...

Thanks Leif.

There is no bill or law requiring a doctoral degree. The AACN proposed that nursing schools make the DNP the terminal degree for NPs (see


fitness health beauty from absolute health fitness said...

Very inspiring post!Thanks for sharing.. ;)

Arginine Infusion said...

hey i shared this in facebook if thats ok..nice initiative

florid nightingale said...

Re: the NYT quote: A physician would, naturally, think that nurses should be "allowed" to do a bit more to ease physicians' burden. Because hegemony is alive and well in health care. We all have to fight it all the time, or it will never go away. Thanks for speaking up.

- Teresa (Florid Nightingale)

Amy Lee said...

The problem is even deeper with Congress allowing the verbage of the establishment of the Accountable Care Organizations (the proposed administrators of Medicare) to state that the patients must have a "physician" as their PCP and they must see that PCP as least once a year. This effectively ruins the ability for NP's to serve as PCP's and remedy so much of the primary care physician shortage... The letter writing campaign must go to our representatives in Congress if we want the climate to change.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I may share on my websites too.

Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

It is still so very frustrating to see that they cannot even get the verbiage correct. We are not "nurses" anymore. We are Nurse Practitioners who, after having completed our years of training, are taking care of complex primary care patients. The misconception that we just take care of "sniffles and colds" is boggling my mind. They need to see my patient panel at a rural health office. We also are having a horrible time finding a Family physician who will come and work in a "blinking light town". I have been here for five years and have built my practice to numbers that rival my collaborating MD. 98% of my patients have never even seen my collaborating MD. I have gone on the radio locally in order to let the public know what our issues are and plan to do it again soon. I encourage my patients to write their senators and congressmen asking them to "get with the times" and give Florida NPs the ability to take care of them entirely including writing controlled prescriptions as needed. All we can do is stay VERY vocal and keep blogging the word!!

Anonymous said...

The problem lies with the name, Nurse Practitioner. To look at it some other way, an NP is a medical practitioner/provider who is a nurse. Nurse. As long we are what we are, we may as well embrace it. If we ourselves are somewhat resentful of our titles, we will always feel slighted. Will a time ever come when we can stand proudly and be proud of who we are? Hopefully, but unlikely.