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DNP 835 Topic 1 Discussion Question One
DNP 835 Topic 1 Discussion Question One
Outcome measures are significant in showing the worth of the Advanced Practice Nurse’s role in health care. Identify a practice-level outcome study and describe the expectation of its effect on health care.
While people of all ages receive emergency and critical care services across the world, the elderly population continues to exhaust a greater proportion of these services . The complexity and acuity of care have heightened with greater prevalence of chronic illness and multimorbidity among older adults . Correspondingly, the demand for emergency and critical care services has increased ,
alongside a concomitant increase in the forecasted workforce requirements for such services . The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education regulations in 2006 in the United States of America (USA) recommends a high-intensity model of care involving 24-h physician coverage [3, 4]. This implementation accentuates inadequacies of the healthcare workforce to provide emergent and critical care services. In the USA, it is predicted that, compared to healthcare system’s demands, there will be a 22% shortfall of critical care physicians by 2020 and a subsequent 35% shortfall by 2030 .
With the impending rise in demand for health services, an effective utilization of the workforce is paramount to ensure high-quality yet cost-effective health service delivery . Across some countries, healthcare workers’ wages account for approximately 50% of the total healthcare expenditure . Hence, cost containment strategies will inevitably involve the workforce . Efforts are underway for measures to enhance productivity through increasing the capacity of the workforce.
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One potential measure is a greater utilization of nurses in advance practice. The global annual growth of the nurse practitioner (NP) workforce has been estimated to be between three to nine times greater compared to physicians; therefore, of interest to health policymakers is the utilization of NPs and advanced practice nurses (APNs) [8, 9]. The nomenclature varies internationally. The “NP” title is used in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom (UK), and the USA whereas the “APN” title is used in Switzerland, Singapore, and South Korea . Nonetheless, NPs and APNs (NP/APNs) are registered nurses “who acquired the expert knowledge base, complex decision-making skills and clinical competencies for expanded practice” (, p. 26) and enter the workforce with a master’s degree .
This advanced practice role was first introduced in the 1960s as a solution to the lack of primary care physicians, to meet the primary care needs of the rural and underserved populations . Primary care has first contact with patients and, subsequently, provides continuity of care within the healthcare system through the coordination of care according to patients’ needs . Studies to evaluate the quality of primary care provided by NP/APNs have been shown to be comparable to that of physicians in terms of effectiveness and safety . To fulfill primary care needs, NP/APNs in this setting are trained generalists who have a breadth of knowledge to render a wide scope of care.
Since the inception of advanced nursing practice in primary care, its role has extended to other healthcare settings such as the acute care. Acute care provides short-term restorative stabilization to patients in unstable chronic conditions and with complex acute and critical illnesses. Acute care encompasses emergency and critical care . Emergency and primary care advanced nursing practice do share similarities in that they serve as first-contact access to healthcare, but the acuity of the patient manifestations delineates the two. Unlike in primary care NP/APNs, emergency NP/APNs are trained to manage patients with acute life- or limb-threatening conditions . In the past decade, greater practice autonomy has been given to NP/APNs in emergency and critical care. This expanded practice allows nurses to assume some medical tasks typically performed by physicians, aiming at not only increasing the access to healthcare and service efficiency but also eventually mitigating the cost of health services.
The development of advanced nursing practice contributed to a service model aiming to respond flexibly to the ever-changing needs of patients . Systematic reviews of studies on the effectiveness and safety of NP/APN-led primary care have reported positive effects of NP/APN service on clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and costs [14, 17] These reviews focused on the primary care setting, it may be inappropriate to extrapolate their findings to the emergency and critical care settings since the patient acuity and clinical needs differ among settings.
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