AANP to VA: Nurse practitioners can solve staffing shortage
the Clinical Advisor take:
Hiring nurse practitioners (NPs) and allowing them to work to the full extent of their education could address the shortage of health providers in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, suggested the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) in response to the department’s new strategy.
The lack of clinical professionals in VA hospitals is top-of-mind for the new secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs, Robert McDonald, who was appointed after a scandal revealed the covering-up of 40 veteran deaths.
McDonald’s plan for fixing the VA Department includes the hiring of an estimated 28,000 health-care providers, including nurse practitioners, to manage the health of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
While federal salaries for doctors are 20% lower than salaries in the private sector, federal base salaries for nurse practitioners are competitive with the private sector, according to the AANP.
“The issue is that it doesn’t make sense to prevent NPs from doing everything they are trained to do, especially in a system where they are struggling to have enough doctors,” said Ken Miller, PhD, RN, CFNP, FAAN, FAANP, president of the AANP.
“NPs are currently one of the fastest growing professions out there. We could help the recruiting effort and help the veterans.”
Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia grant nurse practitioners full-practice authority, while the remaining states vary widely to how much physician oversight NPs must have in order to practice.
The department is reviewing its staff guidelines to provide more opportunities to nurse practitioners.
Nurse practitioners can help solve the Veterans Affairs health systems shortage
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners says it has a solution for Robert McDonald, the new secretary of the Department of Veteran's Affairs, which is facing a shortage of doctors.
Hire nurses practitioners who've received advanced graduate and often doctoral education and clinical training, it says. And allow the NPs, as they are known, to practice to the full extent of their education.
McDonald has said that one of the key factors in fixing the troubled department will be the hiring of an estimated 28,000 physicians, nurses and clinicians to handle the swell of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, along with aging Vietnam vets who fill the waiting rooms every day.