Home » Happy Nurse Practitioner’s Week 2022!

Happy Nurse Practitioner’s Week 2022!

Happy Nurse Practitioner’s Week! I am so proud to be celebrating yet another year of a profession that I love. Although I am not big on titles, I always tell people that making the decision to become an NP was easily the second best decision I have ever made. What was the first you ask? Simple, marrying my Husband. But before I get all off track, let’s get back to Nurse Practitioner’s Week!

Honoring the Past, Looking Towards the Future

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Practitioners are responsible for providing high quality care for more than 1 billion patient visits each year. In addition, we are proud to be a part of the most trusted profession of nursing for the 20th consecutive year, according to the Gallup poll for the Most Honest and Ethical Professions.

The Nurse Practitioner Role was originally created in 1965, when Dr. Loretta Ford, a doctoral prepared pediatric nurse co-developed the first Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Colorado alongside Henry Silver, a pediatrician. By 1980, approximately 200 NP programs were created and 20,000 NPs were in practice. To date, there are over ten specialties Nurse Practitioner’s can choose to become board certified within. Additionally, 29 states (and counting) offer Nurse Practitioners the ability to practice independently without physician oversight. (Source: AANP). 

It is vital to our profession and the medical care system as a whole that we continue to advocate for independent practice for Nurse Practitioners across the fifty states. With doctor shortages looming, Nurse Practitioners are perfectly poised to help fill this critical gap in healthcare, without sacrificing quality. Numerous studies have demonstrated time and time again that Nurse Practitioners provide safe, quality evidence based care resulting in positive patient outcomes. For example, in one such study, researchers studied five years worth of data from 23,704 patient visits to 1,139 practitioners and found that Nurse Practitioners had no statistically significant differences detected in care provided to patients, when compared to physicians. Also, patient outcomes of this study suggest that Nurse Practitioners care was largely comparable to primary care physicians (Ellen T Kurtzman et al. Med Care. 2017 Jun.). Patients who saw NPs were also more likely to get other helpful care and recommendations, such as smoking cessation counseling and health education and mental health services.

As a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner with autonomous practice authority in 3 states, the topic of advocacy within our profession hits close to home for me. I realize the importance of broadening the scope of practice for NPs- and this includes the opportunity to practice independently, which opens doors to shrink the nationwide healthcare gap, thus resulting in increased access to care, improved health outcomes which makes for healthier communities and a healthier nation as a whole.

If you are interested to know more about the Nurse Practitioner role, keep reading! I put together a quick list of FAQs below.

Q: What is a Nurse Practitioner?

A: A Nurse Practitioner is a medical provider with comprehensive graduate training and degree in advanced practice nursing that allows them to assess, diagnose and treat patients. 

Q: How long does it take to complete a Nurse Practitioner program?

A: Nurse Practitioner programs typically take 2 years to complete. Prior to entering an NP program, an individual must hold an RN license, which usually takes 2-4 years to complete. 

Q: Can a Nurse Practitioner write prescriptions?

A: Yes. A Nurse Practitioner can write prescriptions for medications, including controlled substances in some cases.

Q: What is the difference between a Doctor and Nurse Practitioner?

A: Doctors can independently assess, diagnose and treat patients within their specialty scope of practice once completing all educational and licensing requirements, which takes approximately 10-12 years. In 24 states, Nurse Practitioners can independently assess, diagnose and treat patients within their specialty scope of practice once completing all educational and licensing requirements. In some states, Nurse Practitioners are still required to have a collaborating physician to oversee them and ensure they remain within their scope of practice. 

Take this week to show your appreciation for the Nurse Practitioner in your life! If you found this article helpful, have a question or just want to say hi, feel free to connect!