The Role of the Family Nurse Practitioner

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It is no secret that the current healthcare reformation is a contentious matter that promises to transform the way Americans view an already complex healthcare system. The newly insured population is expected to increase by an estimated 32 million while facing an expected shortage of up to 44,000 primary care physicians within the next 12 years (Doherty, 2010). Amidst these already overwhelming challenges, healthcare systems are becoming increasingly scrutinized to identify a way to improve cost containment and patient access (Curits & Netten, 2007). “Growing awareness of the importance of health promotion and disease prevention, the increased complexity of community-based care, and the need to use scarce human healthcare resources, especially family physicians, far more efficiently and effectively, have resulted in increased emphasis on primary healthcare renewal…” (Bailey, Jones & Way, 2006, p. 381). The key to a successful healthcare reformation is interdisciplinary collaboration between Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) and physicians. The purpose of this paper is to review the established role of the FNP, appreciate the anticipated paradigm shift in healthcare between FNPs and primary care physicians, and recognize the potential associated benefits and complications that may ensue. Description of the Topic Definition The American Nurses Association (2008) has defined the FNP, under the broader title of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), as one “who is educationally prepared to assume responsibility and accountability for health promotion and/or maintenance as well as the assessment, diagnosis, and management of patient problems, which includes the use and prescription of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic i... ... middle of paper ... ... Mundinger, M., (1994). Advanced-Practice nursing—good medicine for physicians? New England Journal of Medicine, 33(3), 211-214. Retrieved from National Council for the State Boards of Nursing, APRN background, (2012). Report of the nursing policy and legislative efforts. Retrieved from O’Brian, J. M., (2003). How Nurse Practitioners obtained provider status: History of nurse practitioners. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 60(22). Retrieved from Rashid, C., (2010). Benefits and limitations of nurses taking on aspects of the clinical role of doctors in primary care: integrative literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing 66(8), 1658-1670. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2010.05327.x

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