Did you know that there are 234,000 solutions to the primary health care shortage facing the United States today?  There are 234,000 nurse practitioners (NPs) licensed in the U.S., and NPs have been providing primary care for more than 50 years.   November 12 – 18 is National NP Week.  If you know a nurse practitioner, please take a moment this week to say thanks and send an email to one of our many NPs at Scotland County Hospital & Clinics at caring4u@scotlandcountyhospital.com or send an eCard at http://scotlandcountyhospital.com/make_an_ecard.aspx.

All NPs must complete a master’s or doctoral degree program, and have advanced clinical training beyond their initial professional registered nurse preparation.  Classroom instruction and clinical courses prepare nurses with specialized knowledge and clinical competency to practice in primary care, acute care and long-term health care settings.

In the state of Missouri, NPs work collaboratively with a physician through a collaborative practice agreement.  A collaborative practice agreement is a document outlining this joint practice relationship between the nurse practitioner and a physician.  In a clinic setting, NPs can be a patient’s primary care provider or they can treat a patient of any other primary care provider in order to open up access, which provides a solution to the primary care shortage facing America today.  Scotland County Hospital and Clinics recognizes the following collaborative practice agreements: Jessica Christen – Shane Wilson, DO; Marilyn Day – Julia McNabb, DO; Stephanie Henley-Pippert – Jeff Davis, DO; Teresa Kirchner – Jeff Davis, DO; Tabitha Rohr – Julia McNabb, DO; Sonya See – Randy Tobler, MD; Haley Shrum – Neil Hoyal, DO; Jenna Williams – Julia McNabb, DO.

NPs are proven, expert, patient-centered clinicians because of their unique combination of medical and nursing expertise and skills. NPs diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, infections and injuries; they order, perform, interpret and supervise diagnostic tests such as lab work and x-rays; and they prescribe medications and other treatments.   In addition, NPs partner with their patients, providing health education and counseling, thus guiding patients to make smarter health and lifestyle choices, which ultimately may lead to reduced health care costs.