21st Century Changes in the Nurse Practitioner’s Role

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According to American Medical News, the number of nurse practitioner jobs is expected to grow by 130 percent from 2008 to 2025. This growth demands advanced knowledge and industry experience to continuously improve the delivery of primary care services.

To learn more, check out the infographic designed by Bradley University’s online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Certificate program.

21st Century Changes in Nurse Practitioner Role

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Time Management in the Nursing Profession

Poor time management can result in lower profit margins for health organizations and higher costs for patients. Efficient time management can help to improve patient outcomes and patient-nurse relationships. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), patient-centered care demands more attention to the patient, and time is a resource required to ensure quality care.

What You Need to Know About Time

Psychological time is considered private time and is described as the awareness of physical time. Things like sound, sight, memory, motion, expectations and consciousness influence psychological time. An individual’s use of time is shaped by temporal structures like organizational behavior and routines. It is important to note that performing multiple or conflicting responsibilities requires multitasking and prioritization. According to the NCBI, waiting periods can make people feel devalued.

Patient Expectations Today

According to the NCBI, presence is defined as being there and being with, and it’s considered an example of excellent nursing care. When patients feel a nurse’s presence nearby, they feel safe.

Health Care Data

In 2011, health care data had reached 150 exabytes (1 exabyte = 1 million terabytes, 1 terabyte = 1 million megabytes). The difficulty in managing health care data can be attributed to high diversity of data, high volume of data and high-speed requirements.

Types of Health Care Data
One of the most common types of health care data is patient data in electronic patient records (EPRs). Information on emergency care offered to patients is also a major component of health care data. Other forms of data include administrative data; physician’s notes and prescriptions; laboratory, pharmacy and insurance information; medical imaging and machine generated/sensor data. This vast amount of data potentially can help to lower costs, improve quality of care and save lives.

Analyzing big data has many effects, including reducing and predicting fraud; introducing more cost-effective tools and treatments; identifying ineffective treatments, programs and processes; monitoring patient vitals; using at-home health monitors, profiling patients to help organizations identify individuals who need instruction on preventive care or lifestyle changes; and improving efficiency across administrative tasks, such as approving claims.

According to McKinsey estimates, big data can save the U.S. health care system over $300 billion annually. Clinical operations could save $165 billion every year, and research and development could save $108 billion annually. The type of data currently being collected is unstructured, semi-structured and structured. Data is being collected in multimedia formats, as well.

Structured data includes treatment reimbursement codes, physician name, and hospital name and address, as well as patient name, address and date of birth. Data analysts always should keep the four V’s of data in mind when analyzing data, which are volume, velocity, variety and veracity (data accuracy or quality). Factors affecting data veracity include high volume and high variety of data.

Challenges to Big Data Analytics
Traditional data analytics tools are user friendly and highly transparent, whereas big data analytics tools require advanced programming skills and are extremely complex. Big data analytics tools have emerged as open-source developmental tools and lack the technical support and user-friendly interfaces of traditional, vendor-driven data analytics tools.

Evidence-based Practice

The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing defines quality health care as the degree to which health services for individual patients and populations increase the chances of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.

The Evidenced-based Practice (EBP) movement is driven by the need to improve health care quality. EBP is aimed at hard-wiring current knowledge into common care decisions to improve care processes and patient outcomes. The three facets of quality in health care include services (or interventions), health (or outcome goals) and research evidence (or consistency with current knowledge).

The EBP movement was born when health care professionals realized that there was a wide gap between what was known and what was being done to care for patients. To bridge this gap, health care providers need to use their knowledge of previous outcomes to properly care for new patients with the aim of meeting their care needs.

Just like any other movement that calls for change, EBP must be adopted at every level in the organization. Nurse practitioners have faced challenges in fully implementing EBP, mainly due to the fact that implementing change requires a complicated plan and intensive training.

The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing classifies 47 EBP models into the following thematic areas:
• EBP, Research, Utilization and Knowledge Transformation Processes
• Strategic/Organizational Change Theory to Promote Uptake and Adoption of New Knowledge
• Knowledge Exchange and Synthesis for Application and Inquiry

The Academic Center for Excellence Star Model of Knowledge Transformation has been used extensively to apply EBP in the nursing profession. The EBP movement has impacted nursing education as well — from revision of entire curriculum to changes in professional development programs. The Institute of Medicine has developed five core competencies of health professionals. Today’s nursing research has been driven strongly by EBP. Fields of research address issues such as increasing health care efficiency, effectiveness, timelines and safety.

The Nurse Practitioner’s Future

For nurses to succeed in the evolving profession, they should adopt a willingness to become powerful leaders and effect change by redesigning existing systems through creativity and teamwork, moving out of their comfort zones to implement change demanded by existing research, continuously educating their workforce, and accepting multiple perspectives to challenge existing processes and practices based on sound evidence and research.

A nurse practitioner’s median salary is $96,018 per year. This median salary is expected to grow by 19 percent by 2020. According to Nurse Journal, the shortage of primary care physicians is partly to blame for the increased demand for nurse practitioners. A prerequisite to becoming a nurse practitioner is becoming a registered nurse. Nurse practitioners deliver patient-centered care and finally are receiving greater recognition as key members in the health care industry.


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