5bedside to practice as NPs. Furthermore, those that were already practicing as NPs in the organization moved to other states where there is full practice authority. Florida is one of the states that has a restricted practice for NPs (American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2018). Hiring NPs to co-manage patients can significantly help with the physician shortage, especially if they assume broader responsibilities for patient care, which they are capable of, with proper training and deployment.Competing NeedsThe passage of the ACA created a significant impact in its workforce. Because of the increase in the number of newly insured patients, it created an increased demand for physicians providing primary care services in a system that is already suffering from physician shortage (Xue, Ye, Brewer, & Spetz, 2016). The shortage of medical provider workforce created a barrier in the care delivery of an aging population with advancing chronic diseases (Xue et al., 2016). The use of NPs to help mitigate the physician shortage problem by providing full autonomy to their clinical practice led to the fast growth of NPs in the past few years (Schmitt, 2018). The said action seemed to be a logical solution to the physician shortage at this period when more patients are gaining access to medical services as a result of the implementation of the ACA.However, the use of NPs as primary care providers contributed to the decline in bedside nurses rapidly. Many universities are expanding their Bachelor of Science in Nursing to NP programs producing severe shortages of bedside nurses as they leave their practice to pursue a higher degree and work as NPs (Bernard, 2016). In Baptist Health System, many nurses with minimal years of clinical practice are already in NP school. The rapid growth of universities that produce nurses with minimal clinical experiences could pose a potential problem on the quality of NP graduates who may not be ready to a full practice autonomy to provide primary care services. Barnes (2015) reported that more years of nursing experience shows a better foundation
6for NP practice and helps with the transition of a bedside nurse to an NP role. The implementation of NP role to assist physicians in providing primary care services may address the physician shortage, but creates competing needs producing bedside nurse shortage and an increase of NPs with limited prior clinical experience.Relevant Policies Influencing Physician Shortage IssueWith the above mentioned competing needs affecting physician shortage, developing or revising existing national or organizational policies is crucial. On a national scale, there are varying regulations regarding autonomous NP practice. Many states in the country allow NPs to full practice autonomy, however, there are still some states that regulate NP practice by limiting their ability to manage and treat patients and ability to prescribe certain medications. An NP’s ability to practice independently is regulated by the state’s scope of practice regulations, governed by the law of the state under their respective Nurse Practice Act, and administered by the state’s Board of Nursing (Xue et al., 2016). In the state of Florida, the state law still limits
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- Summer '16
- Elvira Phelps
- Nursing, Health care provider, Registered nurse