Patients Say Nurse Practitioners Play Key Role in Acute Care

February 8th 2016
Allison Gilchrist, Associate Editor

Patients and families believe that acute care improves when nurse practitioners are involved in providing it.

Patients and families believe that acute care improves when nurse practitioners (NPs) are involved in providing it.

Researchers used demographic questionnaires and interviews between March 2014 and January 2015 to evaluate both patient and family perceptions of care effectiveness when NPs are part of the health care team.

The results, which were recently published in theJournal of Clinical Nursing, showed that patients and families believe certain processes are more effective when NPs are present, including communication, decision-making, cohesion, coordination of care, and focus on the needs of patients and families.

“A human approach, trust, being open to discussion, listening to patient and family concerns, and respect were particularly valued by participants,” the authors acknowledged.

Separately, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) conducted a national survey in 2013 of health consumers and also found that most patients believe NPs are much more likely to spend time listening to them and addressing their individual concerns.

Ken Miller, immediate past president of AANP, said in a press release that the survey results “clearly confirm[ed] what we have known anecdotally for years: American health care consumers trust NPs and want greater access to the safe, effective services they provide.”

NPs can provide an array of acute and primary care services, such as assessing patients, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, making diagnoses, initiating and managing treatment plans, and prescribing medications.

Current AANP President Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, toldContemporary Clinicthat patients and families might also trust NPs because they have been “at the forefront of providing patients with exceptional primary, acute, and specialty health care for more than 50 years.”

By nature of their practice, “NPs offer acute and primary care teams a combination of rigorous clinical preparation and training with a strong track record of patient-centered care,” she said.

“NPs are valuable partners,” Dr. Cooke added. “There is extensive and consistent evidence that [their] work is essential to promoting effective team functioning.”

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