Letter writer: Modernize the state law governing nurse practitioners

Graphic by Lori Deaton

In celebration of National Nurse Practitioner Week, Nov. 8-14, I would like to share who nurse practitioners are and what we do.

Nurse practitioners are licensed, expert clinicians with advanced education and extensive clinical preparation. We can diagnose, order diagnostic tests, prescribe medications, and manage acute and chronic illnesses. We work in primary-care clinics, specialty clinics, long-term care facilities and hospitals.

As nurses, we approach our care from a holistic perspective and work as partners with our clients to help them to make educated health care decisions and healthy lifestyle choices.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that nurses work to the full extent of their education and training. A recent study out of Duke University suggests that removing unnecessary physician oversight of advanced-practice nurses could potentially save the state well over $4 billion. Removing practice barriers will also help to alleviate the state’s projected provider shortage.

Sadly, the current N.C. Nurse Practice Act contains outdated regulations that prevents patients from having full and direct access to all the services nurse practitioners are educated and certified to provide. I encourage you to ask your legislators to support legislation to modernizing the Nurse Practice Act and improve access to health care for all North Carolinians.

If you are seeking excellent patient-centered health care, please consider scheduling your next appointment with a nurse practitioner. We would be happy to partner with you.

— Ann M. McDonald
Family Nurse Practitioner
Assistant Professor, Family Nurse Practitioner Program
Western Carolina University

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