(Paris, Ill.)—Nurse practitioners (NPs) celebrate a special milestone this year during National Nurse Practitioner Week, November 8-14. Fifty years ago, the first NP program was established at the University of Colorado. Half a century later, there are more than 205,000 NPs licensed to practice in the United States.
NPs are defined as advanced practice nurses that diagnose and treat acute and chronic illnesses. In addition to providing a full range of services, these expert clinicians work as partners with their patients, guiding them to make educated healthcare decisions and healthy lifestyle choices.
Pictured is Debbie Griffin, FNP-C, CDE, with a patient at EZ Care, PCH/FMC’s weekend, walk-in clinic.
“Nurse practitioners are key to the success of our organization—and healthcare across the country,” said Oliver Smith, president and CEO at PCH/FMC. “As previously uninsured Americans look for a primary care provider, NPs will help fill that need.”
NPs at PCH/FMC are certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. PCH/FMC has eight NPs practicing at various locations:
NPs have graduate level, advanced education and clinical training beyond their registered nurse preparation. They concentrate specifically on the whole person, stressing both care and cure. They can prescribe medications and can perform and interpret diagnostic tests, such as lab work and X-rays, while working closely with their collaborating physician.
The workforce of nurse practitioners is growing. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, more than 916 million visits are made to NPs each year. More than 18 percent of NPs practice in rural settings with populations of less than 25,000.