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How will healthcare reform affect nurses?

Interestingly, the Affordable Care Act is changing nursing at many levels. There are 4 Advanced Practice Nurses [APN] (Clinical Nurse Specialists [CNS], Midwives [CNM], Anesthetists [CNRA], and pratitioners [NP]) but not all were recognized in all 50 states of our nation. Since the Affordable Care Act specifically mentions CNSs and NPs to run the Nurse-Managed Health Centers and become involved in the National Health Service Corps, many states have had to change their rules and/or regulations to inlcude and regulate all 4 APNs so they may perform services listed under the Affordable Care Act.

Nursing Education is also mentioned in the affordable care act through the Nurse Faculty Loan program to encourage nurses to return for their Masters degree to teach in nursing programs. The Nursing Student Loan and the Nursing Workforce Diversity programs increases the amount nursing students may borrow to attend nursing school. Previously there existed little or no funding for Doctoral programs in nursing, but the Affordable Care Act lifts the cap on the Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship and Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship programs. 

For nurses wanting careers in home care, the Affordable Care Act expands home visits for high-risk mothers. The Nurse-Managed Health Centers will be focused on preventative care, which Advanced Practice Nurses have demonstrated better outcomes than physicians in many studies. Read more at: http://allnurses.com/nursing-news/aprn-care-np-598853.html

There is much thought that due to the current economic climate in our country that nurses will be brought to the front of care in primary and preventive care. Those of us that practice in the esteemed profession of nursing often feel that this is a move that should have happened long ago, but we are delighted that the push is now on to make nurses lead changes in healthcare that affect not only patients, but the general public.

Nurses will assist Americans on the continued fight to stay healthy through health prevention methods which include tackling the enormous onslaught of obesity among our youth, eating healthy, exercising, and seeing primary care practitioners when well, not just when sick. Through continued education we hope to ensure the health of our society.

Those people who have been diagnosed with a disease will also be seen by nurses to ensure all methods are done to keep people as healthy as possible despite the diagnosis. For example, if diagnosed with diabetes the nurse can assist the patient in maintaining proper blood glucose levels through lifestyle changes and medication adherence.

Nurses understand that patients are the center of care and will work with other healthcare disciplines to ensure that whether you are well or diagnosed with a disease that your outcomes will be the best possible.

Brett Snodgrass
Oncology Nursing

Currently, health care reform is placing Nurse Pracitioners at the forefront of change.  As more Americans become insured, a greater need for Nurse Practitioners is evident.  Studies show that less family medicine physicians are entering practice, and are choosing specialty practice.  Nurse Practitioners are becoming, and will continue to become the "gatekeeper" to primary care, with focus on health promotion and prevention.

The Institute of Medicine, recently published "The Future of Nursing".  This report clearly places nurses at the forefront of health care, leading the charge into the future.  The future of nursing is BRIGHT!!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.