Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses who offer primary health care services for patients based on their needs. Generally, they ensure health and well-being of patients through various approaches. NPs must acquire advanced training and education in order to be accredited and registered. Consequently, most NPs have master’s degree qualifications and work either independently or collaboratively with physicians and other stakeholders to deliver health care services to patients. This essay focuses on various roles and scope of NPs, particularly on family nurse practitioners in the State of Florida. It reviews the scope, education, practices, regulatory and legal requirements, professional bodies, accreditation, leadership and advocacy roles of NPs.
A Comparison of the Roles of the Nurses
A nurse practitioner should have a minimum qualification of master’s degree. Several nurses in this category have high qualifications, including doctorates. Nurse practitioners normally get further training in diagnosing and treating various conditions, administering drugs, injuries and offering management support.
A nurse practitioner is a clinical professional who undertakes several roles alongside doctors’ roles. The nurse may conduct physical diagnosis, order laboratory tests and interpret results. In addition, nurse practitioners may also offer medical prescriptions. In most cases, nurse practitioners may specialize in specific areas or serve specific patients based on age groups, family, women’s health and orthopedics among others. Nurse practitioners must obtain board certifications in order to practice in their respective States (American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2014).
A nurse educator’s core role is to teach nursing students at various levels of training in nursing, such as diploma, associate degree and baccalaureate levels. The nurse may train nursing students at entry levels and prepare them for further studies at the master’s degree or doctorate levels. Therefore, nurse educators must be highly qualified individuals.
There are also nurse educators who develop and offer continuing education courses for practicing nurses at their convenience or provide nurse education to institutions. At the same time, there are also nurse educators who provide nurse education on basic areas, whereas others specialize in certain areas, such as mental health, neonatal care and geriatric care among others. In some instances, nurse educators take part-time roles in health care facilities in order to maintain their clinical skills (National League for Nursing, 2002).
A nurse informaticist must have extremely high-levels of qualification and significant years of experience in practical nursing before changing career to nursing informatics. Today, the course is also available through online schools.
The major roles of a nurse informaticist keep changing as the field and technologies evolve. Moreover, such roles may differ from one health care center to another one. The most common roles for nurse informaticists involve system deployment. This role requires nurse informaticists to work alongside nursing and information technology specialists in order to link computer systems in a health care facility. Nurse informaticists offer training to nurses and technical assistance in using health care information systems. These training programs aim to reduce negative impacts on patients and technology implementation and usages. Nurse informaticists also promote safety and quality care outcomes through the adoption of health care information systems. They train nurses on how to use the system, enter and retrieve information as required in an efficient manner (Orlovsky, 2005).
The roles of nurse administrators require additional training and qualifications. Although nurse administrators must possess knowledge of nursing, they do not engage in nursing practices and patient care. In addition, nurse administrators must also have qualifications in various areas of management, such as budgeting, workflow and people management among others (Ferguson-Paré, 2003).
Family Nurse Practitioner
The Scope of Responsibilities
The roles of nurse practitioners in this field have evolved with those of doctors. Family nurse practitioners offer nursing care based on collaborative and family-centered care strategies.
A family nurse practitioner can analyze, recommend medication and take care of patients. However, this scope of responsibilities may differ from one state to another based on legislative requirements. Hence, a nurse practitioner’s role may also include prescription of all medications, including other highly regulated ones. However, in some states, nurse practitioners may not have responsibilities of prescribing controlled drugs.
Regulatory and Legal Requirements for Family Nurse Practitioner in the State of Florida
Regulatory and legal requirements for family nurse practitioners are similar to those required of other registered nurse practitioners. Under the law, nurse practitioners must be registered and have the necessary academic qualifications to practice. During practice, family nurse practitioners must observe legal issues that may arise because of their interaction with patients and other third parties in the provision of health care services.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) of 2006 impacts all health care practitioners in all states. Therefore, family nurse practitioners in the State of Florida must adhere to HIPPA requirements and maintain procedures and practices that ensure privacy of their patients’ health information. In addition, family nurse practitioners must adhere to the code of conducts as provided in health care facilities. They must also comply with various regulations and changes as demonstrated by the Florida Board of Nursing from time to time.
Professional Organizations for Family Nurse Practitioners
Florida Board of Nursing
The Florida Board Nursing has a mandate to license, regulate, monitor, educate and discipline all its registered nurses. The Board can also rehabilitate nurses to ensure that they are fit and competent to discharge their duties for the public. It also has the regulatory role of ensuring that all nurses practicing in the State of Florida have attained the necessary qualifications to guarantee patient safety during practices. Therefore, the Board notes that any nurse who does not achieve these necessary qualifications or present risks to patients may not carry out medical practices in the State of Florida. It offers all data that nurses require to register as practitioners in the State (Florida Board of Nursing, 2014).
American Association of Nurse Practitioners – AANP
The AANP touts itself as the ‘Voice of the Nurse Practitioner’. The roles of AANP involve advocacy, education and professional development to all its registered members (American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2014).
American Nurses Association – ANA
The ANA is a full-service professional body that represents over 3.1 million registered nurses in the United States. It has several constituents and affiliated bodies, which promotes nursing profession through advocacy and lobbying to all stakeholders (American Nurses Association, 2014).
The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties – NONPF
The NONPF is the leader in quality nurse practitioner education at both the local and global levels. The organization has developed curriculum guidelines for nurse practitioners to promote excellence in nursing education and practices. It has a global representation of nurse educators (National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, 2014).
Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners – FLANP
The FLANP is an active group of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and other health care supporters who strive to promote health care accessibility in the State of Florida.
The organization aims to promote laws that allow nurse practitioners to provide health care services at their full scope. In addition, it also facilitates the review of laws that limit full participation of nurse practitioners in health care provision. Through these approaches, the FLANP aims to save costs on health care provision and allow the public to gain greater access to quality health care services and see health care providers for services they need.
The FLANP relies on strong lobbying approaches through grassroots and professional efforts alongside media campaigns to offer education to the public. It highlights challenges in the Florida health care system and demonstrates how nurse practitioners can improve on such obstacles if they laws are reviewed (Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners , 2014).
Required Core Competencies for Family Nurse Practitioner and Certificate Requirement
Competencies in health promotion, protection, disease prevention and treatment
A family nurse practitioner offers direct health care services to patients. Under this role, a nurse practitioner must evaluate theoretical, scientific and evidence-based knowledge for assessing and managing patients’ health and illness conditions. Therefore, such competencies are critical for family nurse practitioners.
A family nurse practitioner must demonstrate competencies related to personal, mutual respect and collaborative approaches to health care service delivery. Such competencies facilitate interaction and quality health care outcomes.
Teaching and coaching competencies
Within these competencies, a family nurse practitioner should be able to equip their patients with knowledge about their conditions. In addition, coaching activities allow the nurse practitioner to infer and personalize treatment for patients through advocacy and training.
Core competencies in professional roles
The nurse practitioner must show a commitment to observe, preserve and enhance positive changes in his or her roles. These competencies also require a family nurse practitioner to promote critical thinking, collaborative and multifaceted approaches to health care provision for quality outcomes to patients.
Competencies in managing health care provision strategies
A family nurse practitioner must demonstrate abilities to control health care processes and deliveries effectively in order to enhance health care outcomes for all stakeholders by managing and controlling service provision approaches in an integrated health care model.
Competencies in supervising and providing quality health care to patients
Within these competencies, a family nurse practitioner should ensure quality health care outcomes for patients through effective continued discussion, qualifications, education and training, partnership and process evaluation. The nurse practitioner must also monitor his or her own practice and collaborate with peers to ensure optimal quality care for patients.
Cultural awareness and competencies
A family nurse practitioner should be able to demonstrate cultural awareness during care provision to patients. The nurse practitioner must demonstrate cultural awareness and cultural competencies with deep values to practices and belief systems of patients. In addition, a family nurse practitioner must facilitate health care provision to patients from various cultural orientations (NONPF & AACN, 2002).
A family nurse practitioner must obtain the primary care certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). However, the nurse practitioner must meet all the eligibility conditions in order to take the test and pass it successfully. A successful candidate receives the Family Nurse Practitioner – Board Certified (FNP-BC) certification, which is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2014).
Orlando Health Organization
Orlando Health is a great health care facility for any aspiring family nurse practitioners. It is an inclusive non-profit health care facility with a diverse network across Orlando, Florida.
Various health care facilities associated with Orlando Health deliver advanced health care services and procedures through highly qualified health care workers. Consequently, Orlando Health has gained positive outcomes and reputation among two million residents and over 4,500 international patients, who receive health care services from its facilities every year.
In addition, Orlando Health promotes an inclusive working environment and health care provision that account and value all persons’ unique differences. Consequently, the health care facility has embraced diversity in its various forms, including culture, gender, race, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religion and any other form of recognized diversities. The health facility enhances diversity with the aim of understanding individual differences for improved health care outcomes and teamwork among care providers (Orlando Health, 2014).
Leadership Attributes of the Advanced Practice Role
Delegative Leadership Style
This form of leadership would facilitate decision-making and task completion because of high standards of qualifications of physicians and nurses.
The family nurse practitioner possesses skills in task prioritization and demonstrates to the team that he or she trusts their abilities to take leadership roles in certain areas.
On the other hand, the family nurse practitioner lacks deep interest in cooperation with other team members and inability to complete tasks successfully when working independently. The leader lacks initiative to define roles and provide guidance to the team. The nurse practitioner also demonstrates poor skills in decision-making and inability to inspire others.
Attaining and Evaluating Missing Values
A family nurse practitioner can take the following initiatives to attain and evaluate the missing leadership values. NPs should take initiatives to improve leadership skills on specific areas, such as decision-making, teamwork and role definition through reading leadership assignments (Mannix, Wilkes, & Daly, 2013). They may also focus on developing leadership competency-related tasks in professional, management and interpersonal relations. A family nurse practitioner may work with mentors and complete mentoring assignments to indicate mastery of certain acquired leadership skills and competencies, as well as undertake tasks that facilitate the use of newly acquired leadership skills to demonstrate their effectiveness in different settings. NPs should develop advanced decision-making skills through clearly defined roles and use specific criteria to guide decision-making processes and conduct self-assessment on emotional intelligence. Moreover, they should adopt effective use of change management principles, provide leadership during transitions through advocacy in a large organization and develop high sense of accountability by evaluating achieved goals against the set targets and using results to improve performance. Finally, NPs should develop conflict management, collaboration and negotiation skills, understand and accommodate diverse opinions and contributions from a highly qualified team.
Health Policy and the Advanced Practice Role
The US public health system, which consists of federal agencies, states and local authorities and other private, not-for-profit and public bodies, strives to offer the best public health with the aim of reducing preventable chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart conditions and obesity.
Currently, the major causes of death in the US are mainly preventable diseases associated with the risky behaviors (Kruger, Ham, & Prohaska, 2009). In most cases, people engage in unhealthy behavior choices, such as smoking, lack of physical activities and poor diets, which increase chances of developing chronic diseases. However, the current Public Health and Prevention Policy does not promote healthy eating habits, access to affordable foods, public space for physical activities and clean air in the environment. All Americans should have healthy opportunities in life irrespective of their incomes and status.
Today, there are no consistent and effective standards for evaluating performances of public health agencies across the US. Consequently, the public cannot share the best practices and cannot understand how States spend their public health resources.
Therefore, there is a need to develop a consistent and coordinated public health system that ensures constant changes and improvements on current practices. This would protect and promote public health efforts and ensure that all communities, including the underserved and uninsured receive public health interventions (Ferrante, Wu and Dicicco-Bloom, 2011). Thus, the public should expect quality health care irrespective of their status and locations.
The Process Required for Making the Change with Key Players and Parties of Interest
Given the rising cases of chronic diseases, the US requires a suitable method of preventing chronic diseases and potential health crises in communities. Therefore, health care stakeholders must develop a change process that involves major stakeholders to prevent diseases and reduce costs of health care services.
Abood (2007) notes that a policy process refers to “all the specific decisions and events that are required for a policy to be proposed, considered, and finally either implemented and/or set aside” (p. 2). This should be an interactive process, which offers several opportunities to the public and decision-makers to formulate policies for promoting public health. Abood (2007) identifies three critical processes, which are “policy formulation phase, the implementation phase and the evaluation phase” (p. 2).
The first phase involves gathering inputs, opinions and ideas from the public and conducting research at various sources for evaluation purposes. This would lead to a well-developed policy with a clear outline, purpose, and desired public health outcomes. The process must account for resources required and their potential usages (Abood, 2007).
Leading the Effort to Make or Influence the Change in Policy
The challenge could be how to influence key decision-makers, including lawmakers to modify the current Public Health and Prevention Policy. On this note, the family nurse practitioner as an advocate shall review how policymaking process works by focusing on comprehending how lawmakers make and enforce public policies. This would allow the advocate to understand important decision-makers who need to be influenced in the process of modification of the existing Public Health and Prevention Policy. First, nurse advocate must identify key decision-makers, policies they implement, the level of consultation, accountability, and responsiveness. Second, the advocate will evaluate how public policies are implemented and enforced. Third, the NP will adopt persuasive facts on health care disparities and their negative effects on a given population. Fourth, the nurse advocate shall gaining direct access to key decision-makers on public health issues. Finally, in case the responses are poor from lawmakers, the disruption and litigation may influence lawmakers and other policymakers to take the require action.
The Effect on Health Care Quality if the Change in Policy is Implemented
When there is a change in the current Public Health and Prevention Policy, there would be effective method of tracking performances of public health agencies across different States. In addition, the public would understand how governments spend public health resources.
The policy would also ensure that the underserved and uninsured in remote locations gain access to high quality health care services irrespective of their economic status.
There would be public health awareness through mass campaigns and public education to promote healthy eating habits, lifestyle and the relevance of physical activities in combating chronic diseases.
The public health policy would focus on reducing the growing rates of preventable chronic diseases by empowering the public with information and facilitating access to care (Robinson-White, Conroy, Slavish, & Rosenzweig, 2010).
This essay has demonstrated that NPs are highly qualified and registered health care providers who offer primary health care services to patients, including prescription of regulated drugs based on the State laws. A family nurse practitioner provides individualized care based on family and collaborative strategies to promote quality health care provision and overall health and well-being of patients. NPs have various duties to their patients, including information management, teaching, leadership and advocacy roles. Such roles help in mitigating health care challenges and advancing nursing profession and practices for quality patient care and improved outcomes.
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