The month of November is a time to be thankful for bountiful harvests, moments of togetherness, and our fortunate health. Since nurse practitioners provide vital care that keeps our loved ones in tip-top shape, it’s only fitting that National Nurse Practitioner Week is celebrated during Thanksgiving month.
Today, on the first day of NP Week 2022, Interim Physicians humbly gives thanks to the 355,000 nurse practitioners practicing throughout the US – including the many hundreds of NPs we’ve had the privilege of placing in locum tenens assignments at client facilities in our four-decade history. This year’s theme is, “NPs: Rising to Meet the Needs of Patients,” and we couldn’t agree more with that sentiment.
The Importance of Nurse Practitioners
When patients visit a healthcare facility, they may think that only a physician could provide the healthcare they need. However, in 2022, it’s increasingly likely that they’ll actually be seen by one or more nurse practitioners. In fact, NPs provide more than a billion people with patient-centered care every year.
Despite the common misperception that NPs can only work “under” doctors, NPs are fully licensed clinicians in their own right who can prescribe medication directly. Becoming an NP requires a master’s degree in nursing and successfully passing a certification exam. NPs must also meet certain requirements to periodically renew their license, including continuing education programs.
In recent years, the authority wielded by nurse practitioners has only grown. According to the latest stats, 42.5% of NPs hold hospital privileges, 96.2% write prescriptions, and 26 states have given them full practice authority.
Rising to Meet Patient Needs
Indeed, the numbers show that NPs have been doing a phenomenal job at “rising” to the occasion for patients. Recent studies have shown that NPs have been particularly important in filling the primary care gap, with up to 42.9% of primary care being provided by nurse practitioners.
Thanks to the hard work of NPs, patients have responded by rating them as the most trusted healthcare professionals for 20 straight years. Large numbers of patients say that NPs consistently spend more time with them, advocate for them, and help them understand complicated medical terms, and more.
Rise for Yourself, Too
While they unquestionably rise for patients, NPs are not immune from the effects of extreme stress and burnout. Burnout among medical workers has been growing since even before the COVID-19 pandemic and, according to some studies, has reached an all-time high.
As your partners in delivering quality healthcare whenever and wherever it’s needed, we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the urgent need for NPs to take good care of themselves, too. This week, while NPs bask in the glow of their own much-deserved week of recognition, we encourage NPs to watch out for these signs of burnout and take measures to ameliorate them:
- Constant tiredness
- Compassion fatigue
- Feeling unappreciated
- Emotional detachment
- Constant anxiety related to work
- Finding no enjoyment in work
- Unexplained sickness
Combating burnout requires mental, physical, and emotional steps. While this self-care guide was created for registered nurses, most if not all of its recommendations can surely help NPs get closer to Zen so they can be there for their patients as well as themselves and their families who rely on them to be well.
Happy National Nurse Practitioner Week! We appreciate all you do.