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Evolution Of Nurse Practitioner Role

A registered nurse who’s equipped with an intermediate education in BS Nursing, basically a Master or Doctorate degree, and is armed as well with supplementary trainings in the field of medical analysis and management is known to be a Nurse Practitioner. They are one of the professionals in the medicine industry who have the knowledge and skills to give fundamental health care services like those carried out by physicians or doctors. But how can one earn a successful career like what they have obtained? Let us discuss the evolution of this nurse practitioner role and determine the challenges they’ve encountered and the solutions they’ve made.

It was in the early 1960s when two instructors named Dr. Loretta Ford and Dr. Henry Silver started a specialized syllabus for nursing students of the University of Colorado. Their major influence on this program is the growing demand for health care personnel on various rural locations which unfortunately, was unsustainable during those times. The brand new course aimed to focus in the field of pediatrics while using nurses as their primary models. Their teachings were considered to be the pioneering education of nursing practitioners and its respective graduates of late 1960s were noted as the foremost NPs in the medical history.

nursing practitioner

Since the need for having the profession of a practitioner became very drastic yet somehow unusual way back that time, the existing community of nurses had raised questions and doubts about the fresh program’s importance and credibility. A lot from them had expressed unfavorable insights regarding the introduction of the latest educational process and its relative applications. They’ve had high disputes over the curriculum made in order to educate and train registered nurses to be substitutions or extensions for a physician’s role. Regrettably, this idea is very unacceptable for them as it directly contradicts the present general provisions on nursing professionals. The dispute ended only when the population of nurse practitioners became rapidly increasing and when the related academic program got its formal recommendations.

On the other hand, it was only in the year 2000 when nurse practitioners were finally able to achieve their recognition to legally practice their profession in every state of America and including the District of Columbia. However, there were still limitations within the scope of their position as each state has policies of its own. They have different nursing board examination guidelines but the government assigned a federal agency to centralize the regulations of state nurse practitioners.

The said regulations cover a wide range of parameters in terms of their direct compensation and authoritative relationship with doctors or physicians. Moreover, there are also constraints on their capacity to prescribe legal drugs as they were given the acknowledgement to do this too. This ability applies both on US and Columbia and while there were some states that permit nurse practitioners to recommend legend medicines, there were as well others who are allowed to issue prohibited substances to their patients.

In line with this dependency and strict confinement to certain rules, many practitioners wanted a full autonomy and control over their chosen profession. They’ve just organized numerous collaborations and discussions with doctors to still show respect and cooperation on their authority. But then again, other states didn’t allow this for they are firm that doctors were the sole professionals capable of practicing and applying the general medicine field.

Presently, over 320 medical schools across the state offers post-graduate degree programs for nurse practitioners. These institutions were duly accredited by the Collegiate Nursing Education Commission, the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, and the Accrediting Commission of National League of Nursing. And in year 2000, almost 72% of its graduates chose to enter the adult, the family, or the pediatric nursing fields. These figures only prove that primary care is still the main concern of nursing professionals.

Statistics show that there has been a significant increase on the nurse practitioners’ population from a mere 28,000 last 1992 to an estimated number of 95,000 currently working in the United States. This report only attests the growing supply of practitioners for in just a span of 8 years, 240% was the projected addition. Hence, is this requirement for nurse practitioners will continue to rise over time? No one can tell as nothing is absolute. But provided that the education and trainings specified for these professionals will continue to be recognized and further improved, it will be definite that more and more individuals will be interested on pursuing this kind of very promising medical career.


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