Fox News SLAMS Nurse Practitioners. How quaint.

How do you know an organization knows NOTHING about a subject? Click the big text and watch this video:

VA takes heat over plan to let nurses treat vets without doc supervision

These people are insane.  Twenty-one states have given the GIFT of primary care to their residents by allowing NP’s to practice independently.  The veteran population has so far been denied the choice of a nurse practitioner as a primary care provider, and the VA is said to have long wait times.  This is the obvious solution, and a choice I applaud the VA for making.  And Fox News makes a skewed report that makes it look like *I* will be practicing primary care at the VA next month? “Nurses will have their roles expanded”.  No.  Highly trained Nurse Practitioners will be allowed to practice at the level twenty-one US states say they are able to practice.  And now Veterans are ‘settling for a nurse’.

Really, Fox News? Really?VA-health-care-scandal-590x442

Be clear, the VA is taking no heat from me on the subject.  I am a VA employee and I do not agree with some of their policies, but this one is spot on. I am a veteran and a nurse, and I would be totally OK with a nurse practitioner taking care of my primary care needs at the VA.  As a matter of fact, I am now going to make it a point to register for VA health care. They take my insurance, and it would be extremely convenient to see someone in my building for primary care. Less sick time, less travel time, less wait time.  Everyone wins, especially me.

Even if you are opposed to Nurse Practitioners privately practicing in standalone clinics, the VA is a wonderful environment for NP’s.  There are all kinds of resources, and a physician is a phone call away.  All specialties are represented, and the VA Nurse Practitioner can get patients in to see specialists when necessary, with seamless continuity of care. Patients get their medications from an in-house pharmacy, and the VA Pharmacist has access to the patient’s medical record if there is a question about the dosage or choice of a particular drug.  This is the perfect situation for Nurse Practitioners; they are able to practice to their greatest ability, and they have backup.  Everyone wins – Especially the patient.STLHealthcareSystemLogov2

What people do not seem to understand is that the VA is actually held to way HIGHER standards than the private sector. We are taking care of our veterans, to whom we owe our very lives, so this is appropriate. It may take you 3-4 months to get in to see a new Primary Care Physician in the private sector.  The VA is required to get the new patient seen within thirty days.  Not only that, but if we are unable to get patients seen within thirty days, we run the risk of being dragged through the mud on Fox News.  In the private sector, nobody would be looking and the media would never be told about it. That is the difference between wait times in the private sector and the VA.  Public knowledge.

3e487c3Yellow Journalism at its finest.

I have seen ‘surveys’ of veterans who say they want care outside of the VA on the news.  I want to meet these people and see how random the surveys were.  As stated, I work for the VA.  I have so far had one patient say they wanted to go outside the VA for their healthcare.  The rest of them generally say something along these lines: “I know that I hear a lot of bad stuff about care at the VA, but i’ll tell you, they have always treated me great!” I have scheduled veterans who have insisted on driving four hours to our VA Hospital for a procedure, rather than having the procedure done close to their home because they TRUST the VA. 

Odd how that happens.

Thank you, Secretary McDonald for allowing us to further improve VA healthcare by providing even greater access to primary care.  Our veterans deserve it.  Thank you for utilizing Nurse Practitioners to help veterans get the best care anywhere.








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Author Janie Garner

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Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Joni says:

    I believe your outrage is misplaced. The reporter was reporting. To call it yellow journalism is hyperbole at best.
    I understand your anger over the subject matter, but don’t shoot the messenger.
    I for one did not take away the VA would allow RNs to diagnose, and I’m sure every person who has received care from the VA realize the vital role Nurse Practitioners have in their continued care.
    The focus of the article – to me – seemed to be on CRNAs practicing independently, which is higher risk than the care an ARNP offers.
    I have no opinion, but clearly the Anesthesiologists do. I did not see the Fox News reporter’s slant.
    Why do you believe they hate? That’s weird.

    • Janie Garner says:

      To me, they glossed over the fact that ARNP’s have extensive education and training. They never mentioned that NP’s are practicing in the VA right now, and have been for many years. They didn’t mention that CRNA’s have been practicing independently of a physician in battle medicine since world war 1, and are currently practicing with cursory supervision in the VA System. They also slanted the article to the VA making veterans ‘settle’ for a nurse. Lesser care. This is real yellow journalism. The exact definition. I don’t believe anyone hates anything. I believe that these people (who have no idea what they are talking about) love to dramatize things and sell ad space. They mixed the anesthesiologist with discussion about primary care that made it sound like the nurse wouldn’t catch alarming symptoms. Laypeople will be confused and concerned by this. My husband, who is a bright, educated man was completely sucked in.

  • Jill Anderson says:

    Wow. I’m a nurse practitioner in Florida. I live in the only state in the union that won’t allow NPs to have any controlled substance authority. I’m used to hearing on occasion “oh, you aren’t a doctor?? I’ll wait for the doctor”. Any yet all the nurses, secretaries, and techs prefer to be treated by an NP over an MD. It’s mainly ignorance. And really, just like anything else, a bad experience can dictate your opinion. Eventually things change. I’ll still be here to watch it happen. And I’ll continue to give the best primary care I know how. 😊

  • Trauma CCRN says:

    Have a question…I work in a busy ED, and the PAs/CRNPs cannot prescribe narcotic pain meds on their own. An MD has to sign all their RXs for these. Consequently, patients don’t always get the same level of pain Mgmt they would if they were seeing an MD. Do the “stand alone” CRNPs get full prescribing privileges? I would hate to see someone with an acute, painful or chronic condition get sent away with inadequate meds because their prescriber is not allowed to give them what they really need.

    • Janie Garner says:

      That is a terrific question, Trauma CCRN! From a Medscape article I just read, NP’s have varied prescription privileges in the US, but in states where they practice independently, they seem to have access to prescribe schedules II-V of controlled substances. Read the article here, with state by state descriptions.

    • Kristen says:

      I am an NP in Pa. I have full authority to prescribe all but Schedule I contolled substances. That means I can prescribe morphine, oxycodone, etc. as needed. I do not need a physician to sign for it. I don’t even have to consult with a physician unless I think I need to.

  • Sonya says:

    Provisions in the Affordable Care Act authorize grants for states to establish interprofessional teams to support primary care practices. These teams provide coordinated, comprehensive care management using nurses, medical specialists, pharmacists, nutritionist, dietitians, social workers, and alternative medicine providers. The development of nurse practitioner-led medical homes and laws that permit nurse-led practices have been shown to improve patient outcomes as well as patient satisfaction. This “news” is ridiculous. Everyone knows that APRNs are the key to improving the health of the population while helping to reduce healthcare costs. Practice barriers in all the states are being removed and NPs are able to provide care to those who have been shut out of the healthcare system for too long.

  • Nurse Beth says:

    The first sentence of the video states that patients “will be settling” for care provided by advanced care nurses. Shocking. There are so many other ways they could have introduced the article.

    How about “The VA is providing expanded access and seamless care by using highly trained advanced practice RNs to provide primary care”

    I’m sure this is causing outrage among CRNAs and NPs everywhere.

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