NP Week: Eliminating Barriers to Care Access

November 12th 2015

In honor of NP Week, Contemporary Clinic interviewed nurse practitioner and Editorial Board member Kristene Diggins, FAANP, CNE, NEA-BC, DNP, DCC, MBA, Manager of Professional Practice at MinuteClinic and faculty at University of Phoenix.

In honor of NP Week (November 8-14, 2015),Contemporary Clinicinterviewed nurse practitioner (NP) and Editorial Board member Kristene Diggins, FAANP, CNE, NEA-BC, DNP, DCC, MBA, Manager of Professional Practice at MinuteClinic and faculty at University of Phoenix.

1. Why did you decide to become an NP?

I had always thought that I wanted to go to medical school. With that goal in mind, I started working and volunteering in community clinics in high school.

It was at that point that I saw the pivotal role of the nurse in both the outpatient and inpatient setting. I saw that nurses focused on patient education and engaging families, while supporting their patient’s health needs.

It was evident to me that patients trusted their nurse. I knew then that I would pursue the nursing profession, as the patient’s trust is central to promoting health.

The role of the NP has evolved since I was in nursing school, and I saw that as a perfect opportunity to enhance access to care. When the Doctorate of Nursing Practice role was established for NPs, I found my perfect fit for tying nursing with a clinical doctorate.

2. Why have you chosen to work in a retail clinic?

My career goal has always been to promote access to care. I spent many years providing health care in developing countries, as there is such a discrepancy in access to care there.

When I moved back to the United States 7 years ago, I spent time researching models of care that made access to providers the central focus. I actually found retail clinics online when the idea was just emerging and knew immediately that they would be the perfect match for my career goal, as retail clinics eliminate many barriers to access to health care providers.

3. What are some challenges that you face as an NP working in retail health?

The greatest challenge I have found is learning how to integrate good customer service with good patient care.

In retail, the patient is a customer first. This puts the power of the care back in the patient’s hands, and retail health is ahead on this innovative thinking.

That being said, customer service can be challenging as a provider, as the customer may not always know best. We are challenged to ensure that our patients/customers understand the information given, so that they are empowered to know the best decision.

4. How canretail-basedNPs overcome these challenges?

The best way to overcome the challenge of learning customer service is to provide new NPs specific education and training that provides confident conversation tips to facilitate customer service in any patient care scenario.

5. What are your hopes for the future of retail health?

My hopes for retail health is that the industry will continue to grow and support the existing health care provided by primary care providers (PCPs). I envision an expanded partnership between PCPs and retail health, promoting access to both providers, in a timely fashion.

Retail health has the opportunity to be a safety net for PCPs and the larger health care system.

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