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Nurse Practitioner Zone

Nurse Practitioner Associations and Journals

The level of education and ongoing education and awareness of current issues can be difficult to keep a grasp on while working as a nurse practitioner. The numerous associations and journals can assist NPs in staying abreast of current issues, technological changes and advancement in legislative concerns. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the dynamics of the nurse practitioning profession.

The nursing issues of today will often impact the future of the profession, and if you do not know what is going on in your profession you can be left behind. Awareness of the current concerns for your specialty can provide a greater understanding of how to deal with changes that are nearing or how to prepare for the future, such as the implementation of the doctoral degree standards for 2015 for nurse practitioners. There are numerous journals that can provide updates on various topics. Here is a brief list of some that can be accessed at Journal of the Academy of Practitioners, Advance NPs and PAs, Nurse Practitioner Prescribing Reference, The Clinical Advisor, Journal for Nurse Practitioners. The list goes on, and there are many specific topics of discussion that you can select to further narrow the changes and issues in your clinical practice specialty as well as the setting you practice in (i.e., hospital, nursing home, home health, hospice, etc.).

The use of associations and journals can provide nurse practitioners with a competitive edge by staying informed about the current nursing issues they may face. There are numerous associations to select from – most importantly the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) that has been representing the issues and legislative concerns of practitioners for 26 years. The AANP was formed in 1985 as a way to unify the network of NPs and advocate for the issues and concerns of all specialties. It represents more than 135,000 NPs according to their web site: There are 11 regions that cover the United States and there are representatives as well as regional directors that are in charge of the various areas. This is definitely an organization to belong to when becoming a nurse practitioner.

Among many other things, being a member will help you to stay informed about the profession. The individual state agencies that should be investigated by the practitioner can be located within the National Council State Board of Nursing web site: This council can provide links to direct the professional to the specific state issues and concerns they may face. It also provides nurse initiatives, nurse research and policy and government relations.

The networking opportunities and annual conventions are another area that the journals and associations can assist with. The American College of Nurse Practitioners is a web site that can provide information on national conferences and give updates on the legislative changes to the role and or scope of the nurse practitioner. These conferences, annual conventions and education seminars help to network the health care profession in general and provide further opportunities to expand education, collaborate with others in their specific specialty area and obtain the latest information on the trends for the future. With all of this information, the health care field can offer a challenge to nurse practitioners to keep skills current and move with the profession and not accept the status quo.

The final discussion revolves around the certification and ongoing certification for the nurse practitioner. The most useful web site that provides up-to-date information on where certification takes place and how to prepare for certification is the American Nurses Credentialing Center This is where all practitioners come together to take certification testing and learn about the process and requirements for credentialing. Nurse practitioners have many options to choose from when it comes to specialty areas and the credentialing center can provide descriptions for all specialties as well as a breakdown of requirements and the testing process in general.

As you can see the areas of education and advanced learning are endless. Nurse practitioners just have to explore and network with other professionals in the health care field and they can expand and grow their profession into the future.

History of the NP

The nurse practitioner role was in the early stages of development as early as the 1940s. At this time, many primary care physicians were looking for the help of nurses with strong clinical experience to help care for their patients. In the 40s, most of the medical field had been exhausted because of the events that happened in that decade. There were numerous wounded veterans that placed a burden upon the overall health care system at that time.

In the 1950s there was a large increase in the number of physicians who decided to specialize in various fields of medicine, leaving an even larger shortage to accommodate the rising patient population. This gap grew rapidly and by the 1960s there was a shortage of physicians who provided primary care in the United States. The ever-growing demand for primary care physicians was greater felt in the rural areas and underprivileged and poor communities throughout the United States. Then in the mid-60s low-cost primary care services, such as Medicaid and Medicare programs, were introduced. In 1965, the shortage of primary care services grew to astounding numbers and exacerbated this problem. There were few physicians to meet the demands placed on an already taxed system. The shortage of physicians led people to seek alternative treatments and to try to self-medicate, which led to even greater concerns for the health care community.

The increase in specialization in the mid-60s led many physicians out of primary care and into specialized fields. At this time, many physicians began mentoring nurses with extensive clinical experience and inviting nurse leaders to expand their role in the profession. The physicians explained their need for a more involved and collaborative role and that “seasoned” nurses are perfect to provide this service.

The role of nurse practitioner role was developed and introduced in 1965 by Loretta Ford, a nursing faculty member, and Dr. Henry K. Silver, a pediatrician. This development was in response to the physician shortage that was sweeping across the country. Dr. Henry Silver created the first nurse practitioner program at the University of Colorado. Dr. Silver’s program was a non-degree certificate program for a pediatric nurse practitioner. The early programs were all developed after this model initially as non-degree programs. Subsequent nurse practitioner roles were developed from this first model.

Last Updated: 05/19/2014