Role of Nurse Practitioners in Coping with Shortage of Primary Care Providers

Whenever you rush to the hospital in an emergency, a doctor might not attend to you every time. The most commonly available staff member that will attend to you is a nurse practitioner. Now one would ask, who is a nurse practitioner? A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse but has done some advanced training and education. In addition to the primary degree, they also have a master's or a doctoral degree.

Despite the advancement in the medical field, there are several rural areas devoid of basic medical facilities. One of the reasons is the retirement of physicians without replacement with another physician. This gap leads to a prolonged waiting period for the patients, ultimately skipping treatments. Hence, this worldwide shortage of primary care providers has caused communities to look for help. Therefore, to fulfill the gap, there is a significant increase in the demand for nurse practitioners.

Considering the increased demand for quality nurses, the career outlook of a nurse practitioner is pretty positive. So if you wish to pursue one such profession, you can earn an advanced degree. There are different fields for nurse practitioners, such as family nurse practitioners, pediatric nurse practitioners, adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioners, etc. If you are unsure about choosing the suitable one, you can search FNP vs AGACNP over the internet and make up your mind.

With the growing shortage of physicians, these nurse practitioners are taking an active part in filling the gap; let us share how:

1. High-Quality Care

Nurse practitioners are highly trained professionals. They are part of the primary health care system and focus on disease prevention and health management. These nurse practitioners are best known for delivering high-quality health care. Their services are not just limited to daily physical examination or diagnosis. They are eligible to prescribe medications, treat common infections and counsel the patient. Similarly, they can educate the patient in altering their lifestyle for a better outcome.

2. Availability

As we mentioned before, rural areas are deficient in primary health care facilities due to a shortage of physicians. So if you want any medical assistance, a family nurse practitioner is available for help. A family nurse practitioner is almost equivalent to a physician in emergency rooms. Similarly, if your physician is not available or you need treatment immediately, consult an FNP. You can get the added benefit of more time and a detailed session, which is generally not possible with a physician.

3. Examination and Prescriptions

Many blood tests and examinations are needed for patients in emergency scenarios. In the past, when nurse practitioners were in fewer numbers, the patients had few options to get those examinations ordered. However, now we have nurse practitioners that fill in the gap of physicians efficiently. Hence, a nurse practitioner can easily request any blood test or body scan. In addition to that, they can also interpret the results and guide the patient accordingly. Similarly, if the physicians are not available, a nurse practitioner can also prescribe medicines. However, a nurse practitioner prescribing medications is only allowed in a few countries of the world.

4. A Holistic Approach to Health Care

With the ongoing development in the field of medicine, we see an adaptation of newer means of approaching a patient. However, many physicians still follow the traditional standards. Now here comes the difference between a conventional physician and a nurse practitioner. A traditional physician may only deal with the presenting complaint of the patient. They may use the problem-solving tactic and treat the patient accordingly. However, a nurse practitioner treats the patient as a whole. They might even ask the patient about the environment they live in and work in. This way, they can exclude the causes and counsel the patient accordingly.

5. Patients Satisfaction

As mentioned before, when a nurse practitioner chooses the holistic approach to treat a patient, things differ significantly. It increases patient satisfaction and confidence. The patient relies on the nurse practitioner for all of their medical problems. Similarly, the relationship between patient and nurse practitioner becomes strong. Hence, the patients don't feel the need of a physician as they receive the same attention and care.

Final Words

A good nurse practitioner not only makes a physician's job more accessible, but they also fill in the gap in their absence. Similarly, a clinic or a hospital setup can easily rely on a nurse practitioner to provide good quality care as they are excellent patient advocates. In addition to that, nurse practitioners are known for delivering equally good quality care but at a low cost. It is a significant benefit in rural areas where there are fewer facilities available.


Isreal Olabanji DST RN
Isreal Olabanji DST RN
Am Isreal olabanji a dental assistant and public health professionals and has years of experience in assisting the dentist with all sorts of dental issues. We regularly post timely and trustworthy medical information and news. My goal is to enlighten everyone in all aspects of health towards participating in fitness, Dental care, healthy recipes, child health, obstetrics, and more.

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