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Happy Nurse Practitioner Week!
- Nurse Practitioner Week is November 13th – 19th, 2022.
- Nurse practitioners are a critical part of the nursing workforce and the health care team.
- Nurse practitioners have been stigmatized, downplaying their role in healthcare. Nurse Practitioner Week brings awareness to this growing profession and recognizes these hard-working professionals for their contribution. Learn more about NPs today!
MPH, MSN, WHNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner Week 2022
Nurse Practitioner Week occurs the second week of every November. This year, it occurs November 13-19, right before Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season.
The nurse practitioner profession emerged in the 1960s in a response to the demand for primary care health professionals nationwide.
In 2022, there are many more nurse practitioners (NPs) than in the 1960s, and there is much more public awareness of nurse practitioners.
What Are Nurse Practitioners?
To begin with, a nurse practitioner is a type of advanced practice registered nurse with education and training as a nurse and the scope of work as a mid-level clinician.
Nurse practitioners can:
- Conduct health assessments
- Interpret and order clinical testing
- Diagnose and manage health conditions
- Provide patient education
- Prescribe medications
- And more!
The scope for a nurse practitioner’s work often depends on their local legislation, specific training, and place of employment.
Where Do Nurse Practitioners Work?
Common places of employment include:
- Clinical research facilities
- Public health departments
- Telehealth start-ups
- Military health services
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Ambulatory health centers
- Primary care offices
- Community health centers, and more.
Nurse practitioners can also serve in nursing management roles, teach at nursing schools, be sexual assault nurse examiners, or work as independent consultants.
The Nurse Practitioner’s Influence in Healthcare
In a COVID world, there are many discussions about nurses, health care, and everything in between. Nurse practitioners often specialize in primary care and can perform most services that physicians can provide at a lower cost.
In particular, nurse practitioners are key health care professionals in rural health settings. During a shortage of doctors, there are often several rural areas in America lacking primary care health services.
Nurse practitioners have been employed at higher rates in the past decade in both rural and non-rural settings. Rural America poses its own set of health challenges, especially in low-income rural areas.
Presently, 1 in 4 health care providers in a rural setting is a nurse practitioner. Studies also show that nurse practitioners are more likely to settle in rural areas and provide similar quality care as physicians and other mid-level providers, like physician assistants.
Why Nurse Practitioners Are Essential
Healthcare is ever-changing.
Even before COVID, health care facilities were often understaffed and strained, especially in low-income areas and rural areas.
Nurse practitioners can fill the gap for employment needs in federally qualified health centers, rural health practices, primary care clinics, and more.
As the aging population continues to grow and as the demand for health care professionals increases, nurse practitioners fill that void and can provide the best care possible to patients who need it.
Squashing Stigmas During Nurse Practitioner Week
For the past decade, you most likely have heard some stigmas around nurse practitioners.
Some stigmas imply that NPs do not provide as quality care as doctors. Others might imply that NPs are not equipped to provide patient care at all. Some stigmas also refer to NPs as the underdogs in health care, being exploited, underpaid, and overworked.
Stigmas exist around NPs because of workplace politics, misinformation, burnout, fatigue, and stress associated with working in health care, regardless of your role.
The truth is studies show that nurse practitioners provide quality care to patients and patients often enjoy their experiences with nurse practitioners.
Nurse practitioners do not need to be exploited at their workplace. Communication skills and efficient management, regardless of where you work, can significantly influence someone’s work experiences.
When thinking about nurse practitioners and quality care, it is important to realize that health care is ever-evolving. It is important to realize that knowing your worth is extremely important, and evidence-based care is needed in healthcare.
The Bottom Line on Nurse Practitioner Week
As the demand for healthcare increases, the demand for nurse practitioners will continue to increase. Working together with NPs, physicians, medical assistants, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, and other health care professionals is essential to providing the best care possible.
Take the time to thank your fellow NPs during Nurse Practitioner Week. Here are a few ways to show gratitude.
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