Increased Trends in the use of Mid Level Providers
Over the last several years, the majority of graduating medical students (90%) has been focused on careers in specialized care. (Pickert, 2009) This is because they will make more money in comparison with doctors that are working in a primary care environment. As a result, a shortage has developed with many health care providers turning to Nurse Practitioners. These are nurses with some kind of advanced degree in Nursing. Their job is to diagnose / treat patients and prescribe medication. To fully understand what is happening requires looking at how this trend is having an impact on accountability, quality, costs / health promotion and risk reduction. These different elements will provide the greatest insights as to how Nurse Practitioners are having an effect on a health care environment.
The Current Trends with Nurse Practitioners
There is a crisis happening with many primary care providers. The number of doctors working in these facilities has been decreasing with a variety having shortages of up to 30%. This makes is difficult for hospitals to be able to keep up with demand. (Pickert, 2009) To deal with these challenges many of facilities began to use Nursing Practitioners. These are trained nurses, who have advanced degrees (in Nursing) and several years of experience working in the field. The results are that this has helped to decrease the cost of providing basic primary health care services. This is because the cost for Nurse Practitioners is less in comparison with physicians. We can see this by looking at the below table (which illustrates the total number of Nurse Practitioners and the average weekly wage)
The Total Number of Nurse Practitioner in Comparison with the Average Weekly Earnings
Year Total Number of Positions Average Weekly Salary
2009 98,535 $747.00
2010 99,927 $751.00
2011 100,294 $762.00
(“Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers,” 2012)
These figures are lower than the average weekly salary for doctors’ (which is $2,664.85). (“Physician Salaries,” 2011) This is illustrating how: the cost of Nurse Practitioners in primary care is less, there is better quality and more personalized attention. The big challenge going forward is being able to ensure that the training standards and experience continue to remain high in the future.
This will have an impact on accountability by establishing higher standards. High standards must be maintained by someone who wants to become a Nurse Practitioner. Currently, most programs are focused on the experience, previous education and the areas of nursing that were practiced. This is designed to serve as way of finding individuals who have the ability to effectively treat patients and address minor issues. (“Scope of Practice,” 2010)
In the future there will be pressure for the industry to provide more Nurse Practitioners. This is a part of an effort to deal with the challenges facing health care facilities...