Shawn Kennedy, AJN’s interim editor-in-chief, already posted here about the importance of the recently released Institute of Medicine Report on the Future of Nursing. Its implications are particularly profound at a time when we have a scarcity of primary care providers—and also at a time when the Affordable Care Act (i.e., health care reform) has designated more resources to nursing education and to generally making better use of nurses’ expertise. A number of bloggers have written about the IOM report, several of them expressing chagrin about the predictably naysaying American Medical Association response. Rebutting the AMA, the Center for Health Media and Policy at Hunter College had this to say. One working NP who weighed in on this topic is Stephen Ferrara, who noted (almost two weeks ago, in fact, though we missed it until now) the real world implications of the current situation for NPs in New York State, in a succinct post on his blog, A Nurse Practitioner’s View:
The bottom line is (at least in NY where I practice), without a collaborating physician on record, the 14,000 or so NPs are unemployed and can’t legally do anything that we were trained or educated to do. It is time to remove these non-evidence based barriers and retrospective reviews and allow us to function as true partners on the health care team. Collaboration among providers would still continue to happen and I promise pigs wouldn’t start to fly. Fourteen states have already transitioned to to an autonomous model of practice model for NPs. Lawmakers must not cave to special interests and make the tough decisions that will enable greater access to care.
Of course, the IOM report wasn’t just about letting nurses practice what they were trained to do. It also dealt with nursing education and a number of other related issues. And we’ll be covering its many implications in upcoming issues. In the meantime, we’d love to hear the perspectives of more working RNs and NPs. Are you happy with the role of nurses in the health care system, just as it is? If so, why? If not, why not?—JM, senior editor/blog editor