The Role of APRNs in Patient-Centered Care
Healthcare professionals seek to provide patient-centered care in order to increase patient satisfaction and positive patient experiences. As a shortage of physicians in the United States limits doctors’ ability to provide this type of care, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are playing an increasingly important role, especially in medically underserved areas.
Defined as a nurse who has obtained at least a master’s degree in nursing, APRNs have specialty areas that include nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists.
NPs Fill the Void in Primary Care Services
Across the United States, APRNs are increasingly taking forward-looking roles in the patient experience by practicing as nurse practitioners (NPs). As clinicians that blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management, NPs bring a comprehensive perspective to healthcare.
As principal providers of primary healthcare services, NPs are stepping up to meet the future demands of healthcare. Of the 89% of NPs prepared in primary care, more than 75% are actively practicing in primary care, making them a vital component of the primary care workforce.
But it is not just the quantity of the healthcare they provide that is impactful, but also the quality of care. “… patient satisfaction scores tend to be equal or higher with APRNs, and the cost of APRN care is often lower,” according to Meredith Lahl, executive director/associate chief nursing officer of advanced practice nursing for the Cleveland Clinic Health System.
Moreover, studies have shown that APRNs, including NPs, produce positive outcomes similar to or better than physicians across the spectrum of medical disciplines. “NPs were rated to perform better at patient education, answering queries, listening and pain management than physicians.”
In Their Own Words
Passionate about their profession, APRNs take great pride in the role that they play in providing quality healthcare to their patients. When asked how they believed that they improved patient care, some of the following insights were shared:
- “Improve patient access to care in primary care!”
- “I take the time to really listen. So many patients tell me that is what they like about NPs.”
- “I focus on patient education and reducing the stigma to get help, empowering them to take charge of their mental health and advocate for change.”
- “My focus on education and patient advocacy helps patients take control of their health.”
- “It allows me to work effectively and communicate with members of the multi disciplinary team.“
- “NPs augment care Drs are unable to provide- education, diagnosis, treatment, one on one time given to patients and their families, able to answer questions.”
- “I am able to spend more time with my patients and understand their whole situation rather than just a snapshot in time.”
- “Huge patient advocate! We are our patients’ voice.”
Through education, communication and collaboration, OAAPN is actively advancing the health and well being of patients as well as its profession in Ohio. There is strength in our numbers; authority in our voice; and influence in our action.