Advance practice nurses can play role in preserving rural access
Regarding “As rural hospitals struggle, solutions sought to preserve healthcare access” (Modern Healthcare, May 18, p. 8), it was discouraging to read this article and note that not a single administrator mentioned the use of advanced practice registered nurses, such as nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, as at least a partial solution to filling the need in rural communities for primary care, wellness care, women’s health and prenatal care and episodic/urgent care.
Research clearly demonstrates that these specially prepared nurses give as good—and sometimes better—primary and episodic care, and manage chronic, stable health problems, as other providers. Incentives will be needed to attract these graduate-level educated and nationally certified nurses, just as rural areas offer incentives to physicians to practice in rural areas. Also, state legislatures and insurance commissions will need to ensure that laws allow these nurses to be eligible for reimbursement by third-party and government-sponsored insurance plans.
Jean Farley, RN
Assistant professor, nursing