With the increasing aging population in the United States, the demand for healthcare is also increasing. That calls for the role of nurses since they play a vital role in uplifting a community’s health. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners recognizes Nurse Practitioners (NPs) as Registered Nurses (RNs) who have completed their education and training in an advanced healthcare area. It considers them qualified to manage patient conditions, plan and administer treatments, and support disease and injury prevention.
Nurses have a never-ending role in healthcare since they are on the front and are typically first responders during a medical emergency or crisis. They act as healthcare providers to millions of patients, with their visits totaling 1.06 billion yearly. They also see patients longer-term than physicians and continually check up on their patients to monitor their progress. Due to their direct, close, and long-term contact with patients, they can identify healthcare issues in a community and design programs for prevention and awareness.
The more involved they are within a community, the more change they can implement by introducing new healthcare policies according to the community’s needs. It helps uplift the healthcare sector as a whole.
Let us examine how nurse practitioners improve healthcare.
1. Expanding Access to Primary Care
The State Health Facts suggest that about 81 million US citizens live in primary healthcare professional shortage areas, paving the way for nurse practitioners. Consequently, there has been an increase in online MSN FNP programs for working nurses across all settings accredited by ACEN. Family Nurse Practitioners provide urgent healthcare and take on multiple responsibilities.
The online program will allow you to continue your current role as a Registered Nurse while expanding your leadership and knowledge base in providing primary care. It will also equip you with the ability to provide lifelong patient care in a specialty of your choice. You can provide primary family care and diagnose and administer treatment.
2. Involvement in Community Assessments
Nurse practitioners advocate for patients and contribute to community assessments to analyze the healthcare state in a particular area. Government officials require community assessments to design healthcare policies in line with the current healthcare conditions. Nurse practitioners work with the officials to allocate resources at the right place and time.
They help collect information such as community demographics, health conditions, employment status, economic conditions, current healthcare standards, and healthcare awareness status. It helps the relevant officials devise the right healthcare policies.
In many cases, nurses also advocate for community members to revise the cost of treatment for the masses in a particular area. They also do the same for the healthcare system by establishing a baseline based on economic conditions and implementing practical healthcare solutions by working with the authorities. Moreover, research at national and state levels shows that nurse practitioners help bring down costs while providing high-quality care.
3. Offer Trustworthy Support
Nurses are crucial in providing firsthand support to people in their darkest hours. Nurse practitioners offer support when people face serious health concerns and help families navigate their health status.
It can be very hard for some people and families to visit the clinic and get a checkup. Sometimes, they need to know the right person to consult with or need help understanding some tests. Nurses act as trustworthy advocates in guiding people and offering specialized support. The way healthcare workers like nurse practitioners deal with patients, or their family members can make an immense difference and help calm their nerves.
Additionally, nurses often help patients find the right medical professional or support group.
4. Trauma Awareness
People within a community may not be open to receiving medical care or attention in the case of trauma. It can be in any form. Alternatively, patients may not even be aware of their PTSD symptoms. It results in a barrier to healthcare access. Although healthcare professionals serve many mental health patients, there is always room for improvement.
Nurse practitioners specializing in trauma awareness make a huge difference in identifying such cases. They also often deal with patients with a phobia of doctors, hospitals, and medications. They help devise policies, procedures, and care programs for such individuals, ensuring they get the required treatment.
Other than mental trauma, nurses also deal with traumatic physical injuries directly. In addition, they help coordinate the patient with other healthcare providers. Nurse practitioners play a major role in pain management or trauma awareness centers and provide 360-degree support to patients to help them get back on their feet. It can include physical and mental struggles such as anxiety, depression, physical limitations, and excruciating pain.
5. Establish Rapport with Academic Influencers
Nurses’ direct contact with community members leads to them establishing a rapport. It can be with academic influencers like professors, medical students, and related disciplinary professionals. Their relationship enables nurses to advocate for academic issues and challenges such as low nursing staff in nursing schools, a disproportionate number of students, and lagging school facilities.
Nurses can play an active role in addressing these issues to academic decision-makers and uplifting nursing education. It is very important to educate and train the next generation of nurses with the right resources and in the right direction. They can do this by bringing relevant concerns to the legislative authorities with empirical data from the local health information.
Nurse practitioners play a major role in improving the overall healthcare system of a community in many ways. The kind of role they play is crucial for the foundation of healthcare standards. They provide 360-degree care that not all primary care physicians can provide. Furthermore, they can provide long-term care, administer treatments and spread health awareness on a national level.
They deal with all kinds of patients in different settings. Although, their role may be more significant in rural and remote areas where access to healthcare is unavailable or difficult. They also have the power to plan and implement relevant healthcare policies by working with legislative authorities in different ways.
Therefore, the role of a nurse practitioner in improving healthcare has been and will always be crucial as the demand for healthcare continues to rise.