Should Nurse Practitioners Have Full-Practice Authority?

The healthcare field has changed dramatically during the last few decades. What was once an industry hierarchy from doctors to nurses is now more blended. Nurse practitioners, medical assistants, and DOs have a hand in giving patients well-rounded care in today’s medical system. There have been some questions raised lately about giving nurse practitioners full-practice authority. In this post we would like to explore that idea further.

Holistic patient care.

When you hear the word ‘holistic’ you probably think about herbal remedies and essential oils. But that isn’t precisely the definition. Holistic care actually refers to treating the entire patient, not just the symptoms. Nurse practitioners have always taken a holistic approach to determining the right course of action to help their patients have the best chance of a complete recovery or comfort, regardless of the diagnosis.

Shortage of primary care doctors.

One of the biggest issues to hit the medical industry in the last few years is a shortage of doctors who are going in to primary care. The draw for a variety of specializations is far too great, and the money is certainly nothing to ignore. For that reason, fewer M.D.s are going into family medicine in general. That means someone needs to step up and fill these needs.

Access in more communities.

Nurse practitioners are also available to help out in rural or lower income communities. They don’t have the same draw or connection to large hospital systems and they have more flexibility in their practices. This flexibility means that they can bring healthcare to the people who need it most. With a greater potential reach, they can offer additional services to people who would otherwise be unable to utilize clinics, hospitals, or a doctor’s office.

More affordable healthcare.

Lastly, there is a financial benefit to working directly with a nurse practitioner than a doctor. There are lower costs and lower salaries to consider. A nurse practitioner can be hired by clinics with much lower budgets. Their services to patients, which can be the same as a doctor can provide, can also be more affordable directly to the healthcare consumer and their families.

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