Next week, November 9 – 15, is National Nurse Practitioner Week! It is time for all of us to celebrate our professional accomplishments and raise awareness of the extraordinary contributions that NPs make to the health of millions of Americans.
What does being a nurse practitioner mean to you?
For me, being a pediatric nurse practitioner has been a fulfilling career choice beyond my expectations. As nurse practitioners, we have the honor and privilege of providing help and supporting patients and families during some of the happiest and some of the most challenging moments of their lives. It is so satisfying to play an important part in ensuring the health and well-being of future generations.
Nurse practitioners bring a much needed, holistic health focus to their work with patients and families. There are 192,000 well-educated and highly skilled nurse practitioners practicing in the United States. We need to inform lawmakers about the need to remove outdated barriers to practice so that we can serve our patients to the fullest extent of our experience and education. Patients deserve complete and direct access to all of the services that NPs can provide.
Last year, in my home state of Minnesota, NPs worked in partnership with other APRN colleagues to pass legislation to bring full practice authority to Minnesota’s APRNs, bringing the total number of states recognizing independent practice to 19. NPs can now practice independently in over a third of the U.S. Nurse practitioners are gaining momentum nationally but there is more work to do. I encourage those of you living in states with upcoming APRN legislation this year to get involved and work with your state coalitions to increase access to care and choice of healthcare provider to the citizens in your state. I look forward to hearing success stories from other states as they work toward full practice authority.
NP Week is a great time to reflect on the important roles nurse practitioners play in today’s health care environment and the critical roles they will play in the future. NAPNAP offers numerous resources to prepare PNP students for the healthcare field and posts dozens of new jobs weekly to our pediatric NP job board. You can learn more about the job board and other occupational resources, such as our Career Resource Guide and career blog, on our website.
What can you do to celebrate NP Week?
Share your pride about being a nurse practitioner on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #NPWeek. Write a letter to your local news editor and speak out about the important contributions that NPs make to the healthcare community. Plan a special celebratory reception for your colleagues. You can find other community activity ideas, talking points and tips in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners' (AANP) helpful Nurse Practitioner Week Online Resource Guide.
I welcome your comments about NP Week. How do you plan to celebrate?
Happy Nurse Practitioner Week!
Yours in health,