The underserved populations
The Family Nurse Practitioner or (FNP) encompasses many areas of practice from clinic to acute care. Many FNPs choose to specialize in clinical areas based on expertise and experience. Other FNPs may choose to practice within a certain population or area based off of scope of practice and degree of independence. As an FNP, I choose to focus my expertise to serve the underserved populations in Colorado, which could be in an outpatient, clinic or acute care setting.
The underserved populations have increased exponentially. The Rural Policy Research Institute (2009) defines the medically underserved as, “the ratio of primary care physicians per 1,000 population, ...view middle of the document...
This is encouraging because it implies that both clinic and mobile care are potential sites where an FNP could provide care to the underserved populations in Colorado. Since Colorado is one state that does offer some degree of independence for nurse practitioners, it is important to understand how the advanced practice nurse licensing works.
Colorado’s stance on the FNP
The Colorado nurse practice act defines the criteria that must be met before a nurse practitioner can practice independently (Colorado Revised Statutes, 2007). The first of the criteria includes the completion of a nationally accredited education program and a passing score on the Colorado State Advanced Practice Nurse Board Examination. Prescriptive authority requires additional supervision. The FNP will need to participate in a post-graduate experience that includes at least 1,800 hours of supervised clinical experience within a five year period. The clinical experience must be documented in a written collaborative agreement between the FNP and a Colorado licensed physician with similar practice as the FNP. This collaboration outlines the criteria for consultation, prescription and referral.
There are also some stipulations that cannot be...