The advanced nurse practitioner role has developed from that of the nurse practitioner. However, there are lots of varieties and it tends to be hard to recognize specialties. The role of the ANP has been highlighted by a number of bodies to enhance nursing skills, place nurses at the forefront of primary care, and alleviate some of the pressure caused by a lack of general practitioners.
Need for Advanced Nurse Practitioners in primary care
Within the NHS, there are increasing pressures on Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments and out-of-hours services and broadly individuals are being encouraged to look for guidance from the most appropriate person or place for their healthcare needs.
The patient population is increasing, people are living longer and more people are living with long-term conditions. The issue is compounded in primary care by the deficiency of GPs and in light of the fact that numerous GPs are taking early retirement.
There is an increasing need to manage this ascent in demand and the presentation of the role of the advanced nurse practitioner is one great way to deal with do this. Patients also need to be made aware of other resources and other health professionals who can provide them with guidance or treatment.
- Advanced Nurse Practitioners progressively fill in as substitutes for, or to complement, general practitioners being taken care of minor illness and the management of chronic diseases.
- Available research recommends that nurses can provide top-notch care as GPs in the provision of the first contact and progressing care for unselected patients.
- Decreases in expense are context dependent and rarely achieved. This is because savings on nurses’ compensations are frequently balanced by their lower efficiency
- In primary care, Advanced Nurse Practitioners can deal with most patients requesting acute, same-day appointments that do not require GP contact. This more effective use of primary care services allows GPs to see patients with more complex health needs.
The factors motivating the expansion in nursing roles are numerous and complex. In common with other developed countries, the NHS in England faces rising demand for health care, a pressure to constrain costs, poor access to services in rural areas, and medical workforce shortages. A common response to such difficulties has been to extend the role of nurses into areas that were previously the domain of doctors alone. The expectation is that nurses can:
Enhance the quality of services provided by doctors;
Substitute for doctors in many areas, thus reducing the demand for doctors;
- Decrease costs, as they are cheaper to employ than doctors.
The Advanced Nurse Practitioner role was introduced to improve service delivery and provide more access for patients with acute healthcare needs who had to be seen on the day rather than expect them to wait for the following routine GP settings. The use of an advanced practitioner to see such patients instead of a GP has expanded access to the on-the-day benefit. The best strategy for improving capacity in primary care without compromising the quality of care is by using advanced nurse practitioners as a substitute or complement with GP’s
The use of an Advanced Nurse Practitioner increased the efficiency of practice and streamlined the GP services while maintaining high-quality care and develop patient satisfaction. The job of the Advanced Nurse Practitioner within the Primary care always going to be sustainable as demand from patients continues to grow. It enhances the effectiveness of primary care service delivery and increase patients’ and GPs’ confidence.
- Prescribe any medicine for any condition within their competence provided they have completed an Independent Prescribing qualification
- See patients with undiagnosed, undifferentiated medical conditions and make treatment decisions, including ordering necessary investigations
- Undertake suitable home visits
- Refer patients to secondary care, although this can vary depending on local action and conventions
- Provide care to pregnant women if this involves assessment of the pregnancy, unless they are also a practising midwife meeting the NMC requirements of registration
- Sign Fit Notes (only medical practitioners can do this by law)