Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Nurse Practitioner's Place Interviews Stephen from NP View

1. What drew your interest into becoming a NP?
Conceptually, I loved the role nursing played as a patient advocate, educator and care-taker. I wanted to bring those aspects to the next level and thought that the NP role was an ideal synthesis of advanced practice. I always had a deep appreciation for the sciences and knew that I wanted to be in health care.

2. What is your worst pet peeve with the health care system?
Our health care system is in desperate need of reform. My biggest pet peeve? Oh there are so many. I would say that it really isn’t a “system” at all. I am not certain if a single payer system is the answer. However, our current mix of federal, state and privately funded insurance simply isn’t working. Trying to get anything done for our patients seems like an inherent road block. Pre-authorizations, pre-certifications and the like detract from patient care.

3. What do you think of the continuing NP vs PA issues?
I truly believe there is room for all of us. We are in desperate need of primary care providers and NPs and PAs alike can help fill that gap. I do think there are nuances in our practices that distinguish the two professions. This doesn’t make one better than the other, merely different. I think we need to be supportive and sensitive to one another.

4. Same for the NP vs MD?
Again, there is room for us all. I think a lot of physicians don’t understand the NP role (nor do some care to). I come across a handful of physician blogs that constantly put down the NP role and it is getting very tired. I make it very clear that I do not practice medicine, nor purport to, nor want to.

I have been extremely fortunate to work with physicians who understand and support the role of the NP and aren’t looking to “supervise” me. I collaborate with my physician colleagues and we exchange meaningful dialogue that is in the best interest of our patients.

I think what is even more important for the NP profession is to stand united and to truly advocate collectively for the profession. We must constantly strive for practice that is not with arbitrary barriers and is autonomous. There are some groups constantly looking to further limit our practice. For this reason, I feel it is imperative for us to be politically involved and unified.

5. If you could go back and change something about your education as a NP, what would it be?
I think the natural thing for most to say is that they wanted more clinical time and more experiences. I think it is normal for a lot of us to feel that way. However, it is impossible for our education to prepare us for every clinical encounter. I would say that I wish my clinical experiences were better focused and structured.

6. Do you feel that you were prepared for practice by your program?
I feel that I definitely had the knowledge base to build upon as I started my practice. I had a good grasp of what I knew and what I didn’t know. A new graduate NP needs support and guidance just as any other young professional needs.

7. What advice would you give those who are considering NP?
Being a NP is a wonderful profession and has unlimited opportunities. Please don’t enter this profession for the money since the level of responsibility doesn’t equate with the salary. Being a NP is hard work and one must be dedicated to life-long learning. However, it is very rewarding to work with patients, their families and the local communities in which we practice. I am fortunate to work with my patients recommending treatments, providing health education and making decisions with them in a patient-centered approach. Try spending some time shadowing an NP and understanding what the role consists of. Very few NP roles are identical which I think is a benefit. Finally, join your state and/or national NP organization as a student NP. They are of great benefit to network and will help to ensure barrier-free practice.

8. Do you still enjoy your work? Burn out an issue?
I still enjoy my work. Burn out certainly is an issue when there are never enough hours in the day to do all of the tasks that we are expected to do that goes along with patient care. I have the unique opportunity of being able to hold a management as well as clinical role and am involved in many different aspects of patient care. When I held strictly clinical roles, burn out certainly was possible.

9. How many hours do you actually put in a week vs how many you actually get paid for?
I probably put in about 60-65 hours of work per week and get paid for 40 weekly hours.

10. Do you have hospital privileges or do you even want them?
No and I don’t want them. I see myself as an outpatient primary care provider and my job is to keep my patients healthy and keep them out of the hospital.

11. Do you have narcotic prescription ability or do you wish that you didn't?
I do have this ability and believe it is essential requirement to practice and adequately care for my patients. Every NP that has the ability to apply for a DEA license should have one.

12. What is one thing that you would change about yourself as a provider?
As I am enrolled in a DNP program, I have learned to perform more self-reflection and to question aspects of my practice. I hate sounding pompous but I strongly feel that my FNP education prepared me for my role as a nurse practitioner. I wasn’t looking to go back to school for a program that was going to review what I already knew in practice. I was looking to bring my practice to a new level and to round out my experience. I am proud to say that I have already started looking at aspects of my practice from an evidenced-based and culturally competent perspective. Doing things the way we always have isn’t necessarily the best way to care for each of our individual patients who bring their unique perspectives and issues.

13. Why do you blog?
I blog because I love the opportunity of sharing my thoughts and opinions with others. Blogging is an amazing medium to accomplish this. I also discovered that there were way too few NP authored blogs and wanted to share my views on topics from a NPs perspective. I also felt the need to represent healthcare in a society that is often dominated with just one perspective.

14. How much time do you spend reading other's blogs?
I try to view my favorite blogs on a daily basis. Having tools such as Google Reader and my iPhone makes it possible to quickly glance at blogs and check them for current updates. I like to be aware of current health care issues and trends.

15. Do you find yourself looking at your sitemeter (if you have one) too many times a day?
This is a great question! Yes, I do check my site meter at least daily! Although I don’t have that much traffic to my site, I love being able to see what key words people are searching and how my blog comes up in that search. I’d also like to thank everyone (yourself included) that lists my blog on their blog roll and links to me. The sitemeter helps me to validate blogging.

16. Do you respond to your commenters on your blog? Is it important?
I will respond to commenters if they ask a particular (non patient specific) question. I think it depends on the particular comment as to whether it’s important to respond back.

Thanks to Stephen for taking the time to type an interview for me! It took me a while to post it and for that I apologize! Any other NPs out there who would like to be interviewed? Copy the questions, answer and feel free to ad lib and send it to npssavelives@npplace.com
I look forward to your submissions!