READ THE NURSE PRACTITIONER WEEK 2020 ISSUE
ABOUT THE ISSUE
By Claudelle Parchment, PhD
By Jebra Turner
By Sally Parker
By Michele Wojciechowski
By Tamika Dowling, DNP, FNP-c, PCCN
By Fidelindo Lim, DNP, CCRN
NPs are the MVPs in Health Care
It’s been a big year for nurse practitioners—perhaps not in the way any of us could have imagined, but important nonetheless. With National Nurse Practitioner Week approaching, it’s important to reflect on just how vital their efforts have been in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, despite the challenges of a shortage of PPE equipment, a lack of testing, and an ineffective national strategy to control the spread of the virus.
According to a recent survey from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the majority of NPs have reported testing patients for COVID-19 and 61% have treated patients who have tested positive—all of this despite the fact that a third of NPs in the survey self-identified as being high-risk due to a preexisting condition or their age group. As a result, many have adopted or increased use of telehealth in their practices and have enhanced their screening protocols to provide safe and effective care to the community.
Across the country, states with reduced or restricted practice for NPs, such as California, Texas, and New York, have temporarily suspended or waived practice agreement requirements to help fight the pandemic. We still have a long way to go before NPs have full practice authority in every state, but with any luck, these changes will become permanent in 2021 when the public can recognize and appreciate their significant contributions to health care.
Despite what the president has suggested, we are not “turning a corner” with this virus. It’s not going to just magically disappear with the election in the rear-view mirror, as much as we all wish it would. Several states are currently experiencing a spike, with thousands of new cases being announced every day. Despite this, many Americans still refuse to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Indeed, it’s a sad day for medicine when politicians are being trusted over our public health experts. This is why it’s more important than ever for us to return the favor and advocate for them this time.