The Role of the Nurse Practitioner in the Patient Centered Medical Home
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Since the 1960's Nurse Practitioners (NPs) have been successfully providing primary care to individuals throughout the life cycle. The role of the NP, however, is not currently well defined. The public and even other health care providers do not always understand the skill set and training of the NP. Consequently, NPs are not always able to practice to the full extent of their state-mandated scope of practice or to fully utilize their training. At a time when health care in general and primary care in particular are the focus of national debate, NPs should mount a coordinated effort to define their unique contribution. The nursing model focuses on health maintenance, education, and partnerships with patients. This background prepares NPs to function effectively as primary health providers (PCPs) in a healthcare model that emphasizes health promotion, continuity, and patient-centered care such as the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH). This paper presents an argument for the full inclusion of NPs as PCPs within the PCMH.
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