If you’ve entered the health care system for any reason this year, chances are very good that a nurse practitioner (NP) or a physician assistant (PA) has provided you with care.
What’s that, you say? Well, there’s a projected shortage of physicians—in primary care, specialties, and surgery. The aging baby boomer cohort is beginning to show signs of complex and chronic diseases. The millennials are beginning to start their families. Health care reform has increased the number of patients coming into the health system.
But what does that have to do with NPs and PAs? How do they fit in?
Over the past 50 years, the number of licensed NPs and PAs has grown to more than 330,000 in all 50 states as they’ve stepped up to provide cost-effective patient care in just about every setting you can imagine. In the past 10 years, efforts have redoubled to refine the roles advance practice clinicians play in meeting health care needs at the national, state, and local levels. Recent editorials in Clinician Reviews, a journal by and for NPs and PAs, reflect this progress.
One PA commentator emphatically states, “The fact remains that PAs offer something unique … we offer patients the opportunity to have both a relationship with their internist, surgeon, or specialist and access to our own capable care and treatment.“
In May of this year, the VA proposed granting full practice authority to APRNs who work at the VA, regardless of their state of licensure, to enable them to respond to the backlog of patients in the system. Our NP editorialist highlighted that “88% of Americans overall express support for the VA proposal,” as do more than 60 major organizations. Clearly, there is overwhelming evidence that our veterans deserve access to care led by these highly qualified professionals. As the VA goes, so goes the country?
Clinician Reviews, designed to keep NPs and PAs abreast of the ever-changing, continually growing body of medical knowledge and important trends in health care delivery, reaches these key clinicians in every practice setting, as demonstrated by these top-accessed articles over the past year:
- “Athlete’s Foot” That Won’t Go Away (Dermatology)
- Earaches Visualized (Otolaryngology)
- HPV & Genital Warts (Infectious Disease)
- BMI and All-Cause Mortality (Obesity)
- Migraines & Cardiovascular Disease in Women (Cardiology)
- Say Ahh… (Oral Health)
- Prediabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Current Trends (Endocrinology)
- Classic Childhood Xanthems (Pediatrics)
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Karen J. Clemments
Editor, Clinician Reviews