8 reasons nurse practitioners are critical to health care

July 21, 2023

Primary Care Wellness
Nurse Practitioner Smiling

A nurse practitioner (NP) is a staple in modern health care. An NP can provide patient care, advocacy, education, management, planning and more. And the profession is growing — with good reason.

“From treating infection to creating a strategic plan, nurse practitioners improve patient outcomes and the health care landscape as a whole,” says Angela Barco, a Family Nurse Practitioner at Riverside Bruton Avenue Family Practice in Newport News, Va.

If you’ve experienced the care of a nurse practitioner, you know the compassionate, high-quality work they do. This valuable profession is critical to modern health care amid a global physician shortage and rising chronic disease rates. Read on for eight reasons why we need nurse practitioners now more than ever. 

1. NPs solve health care challenges from the bedside to the boardroom

The training to become a nurse practitioner requires an advanced degree and an active nursing license. The average nurse practitioner has nine years of experience. Many start as bedside nurses, gaining valuable exposure to a range of patient care approaches and the health care environment. As a result, they provide expert care and understand the challenges patients and providers face.

2. NPs understand their patients’ needs

Nurse practitioners often work their way up, providing increasingly complex patient care. They have a unique perspective on all aspects of the patient experience, from educating on disease prevention, to managing medications, discussing symptoms, and overall advocating for our patients during their most challenging unexpected needs.

3. NPs provide quality health care for all communities

“The nurse practitioner role was first introduced in the 1960s to meet the primary care needs of the rural and underserved populations,” says Ms. Barco.

Amid a global physician shortage, nurse practitioners help bridge the gap to improve access to quality health care. From primary care to the emergency room, nurse practitioners manage chronic illness, provide preventive care and help when unexpected health care needs arise.

4. NPs can help manage chronic diseases

In the United States, chronic health conditions like diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure are rising. And people are living longer and need help managing multiple conditions. Nurse practitioners can help with both ends of the health care spectrum – disease prevention and treatment.

5. NPs offer great patient experience and satisfaction

NPs provide patient-centered, efficient and effective care. What’s more, their patients have fewer unnecessary hospital stays, hospital readmissions and emergency room visits. NPs improve the quality of life and save time and money for their patients. So, it’s no surprise that patients report high satisfaction with their nurse practitioner health care providers.

6. NPs provide patient education

Nurse practitioners value educating patients to improve their health and ability to follow treatment plans, this is a central component of their practice. They develop education plans during visits considering what the patient knows about their health and what they need to learn. By educating, NPs help people, understand their condition and care plan better.

7. NPs will shape the future of health care

“Nurse practitioners can change the future of health care for the better by using their experience to advocate for patients and providers,” says Ms. Barco.

From prescription drugs to wait times and everything in between, NPs are involved in health policy at all levels. On the front lines of health care, they treat multiple patients and can use their personal experience to influence legislation and positively impact the health care landscape.

8. NPs keep health care costs down

Nurse Practitioners have provided quality, cost-effective health care for more than 50 years. And research shows NPs care for, on average, three patients every hour. Patient volumes, combined with the NPs’ lower salaries and education costs, position them as clear winners for providing excellent, cost-effective care. And cost savings means less expensive patient care, so medical systems can hire more providers overall to meet their community’s demands.

See an NP for all your health care needs

Make an appointment with Ms. Barco or any of our highly skilled nurse practitioners if you are looking for high-quality, compassionate care. Find a qualified nurse practitioner in primary care today.



Related Articles

View All Posts
Primary Care

Physician assistants: a critical resource in modern health care

September 05, 2023
Learn More Physician Assistant
Primary Care Parenting +1 More

Dealing with back-to-school anxiety

August 30, 2023
Learn More mother and daughter high fiving on the way to school
Primary Care Wellness

Advanced Practice Providers: Here for your health care needs

August 11, 2023
Learn More Provider with patient