For APRNs, Innovation Trumps Barriers

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, July 16, 2013

Three healthcare institutions that rely on advanced practice registered nurses prove that a little innovation can go a long way in improving not only access to care, but also the care itself.

Advanced practice nurses are the most clutch players in the healthcare game, there to fill the gaps when primary care providers are in short supply. Three institutions show the innovative ways that APRNs can provide care, despite a number of significant hurdles.

A policy brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation highlights three healthcare institutions where APRNs are being used effectively. It says the US Department of Veteran Affairs, the University of Pennsylvania Health System, and Duke University Health System's Department of Cardiovascular Medicine can serve as a model for other institutions who want to use APRNs in more pioneering ways.

The eight-page brief also identifies three of the most significant barriers to APRN's practice and touts statistics showing their effectiveness. In this regard, it's a lesson we already know: APRNs can help expand access to care; the types of APRNs; the licensing, training, certification, and education required of them; and stats about the way APRNs improve care.

The brief also outlines the three main barriers to APRNs' practice: legal/regulatory barriers (such as laws requiring APRNs to work with a collaborating physician and lack of reimbursement from government and private insurers); institutional barriers (restrictions from individual healthcare organizations); and cultural barriers (patients' notion that doctors provide better care).

Alexandra Wilson Pecci

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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