Best treat­ment for vets is at VA

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

So, read­ing some com­men­ta­tors, they think that mak­ing the scope of prac­tice for Vet­er­ans Af­fairs ad­vanced prac­tice reg­is­tered nurses the same across the coun­try and the “same” is the full scope of prac­tice be­ing equal to that of the most ad­vanced states will re­sult in in­fe­rior treat­ment for vets. What they ac­tu­ally say is more like “nurses who aren’t su­per­vised by doc­tors will not be as good for vets.” Well, that state­ment is true, but that is not what VA is ac­tu­ally do­ing. It’s a mis­lead­ing state­ment of what VA is do­ing.

What is be­ing done is sim­ply ap­ply­ing the stan­dards of the scope of prac­tice that are present in 19 states and Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to the en­tire coun­try, be­cause these RNs are prac­tic­ing at fed­eral fa­cil­i­ties and ought to be able to give full care to the ex­tent of their ed­u­ca­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence.

First, reg­is­tered nurses are al­ready re­quired to com­plete a rig­or­ous course of study. Then, to be an ad­vanced prac­tice reg­is­tered nurse, they must com­plete sev­eral more years of rig­or­ous study. Such study in­cludes phys­i­ol­ogy, anatomy, phar­macy and clin­i­cal practicums in which their class room knowl­edge is tested in real hos­pi­tals on real pa­tients. This re­sults in every day at some hos­pi­tal an RN ask­ing an MD if they re­ally want to use medicine at that strength to treat this pa­tient and the MD thanks them and says “no” and cor­rects the treat­ment or­ders.

So, RNs are cur­rently fully re­spon­si­ble for treat­ing their pa­tients to the ex­tent of their scope of prac­tice. VA is now pro­vid­ing that ad­vanced prac­tice RNs will prac­tice na­tion­ally to the full scope of prac­tice pro­vided at 40 per­cent of the states.

Every hos­pi­tal is eval­u­ated every three years in this coun­try. The eval­u­a­tion in­cludes ad­verse re­sults like wrong meds, wrong surgery, proper sys­tems to avoid ad­verse events, etc. VA med­i­cal cen­ters score in the low 90s on av­er­age while the na­tional av­er­age is in the high 80s, so no one should worry about the care given to vets.

Wil­liam Wet­more, Wal­dorf

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