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An NP Goes to Washington

An NP Goes to Washington

Scrubs Magazine

Nurses nationwide are hoping for the best when it comes to healthcare reform: the best for their patients and the best for the future of their own profession.

Fortunately, those who are drafting healthcare reform legislation are being careful to include as many voices as possible as they make their decisions—especially the voices of those who are interacting with patients every day.

That’s why the White House invited primary care providers from various disciplines to converge and share their opinions on the future of primary care.

We talked to one lucky nurse who had the unique opportunity to visit the White House as a representative of her profession. Mona Counts, Elouise Ross Eberly Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, shares her experience and the changes she’d like to see for NPs in primary care.

Scrubs: Tell us about your trip to the White House. Had you been invited before?

Mona: No, I had not been invited prior. I had been on the Hill and met with Congress, but never the White House! My colleagues [AANP President Dee Swanson and AANP Director of Health Policy Jan Towers] and I were the NP representatives. It was really exciting to be meeting with the “movers and shakers,” if you will. It turned out to be a great experience.

Scrubs: How many people were there?

Mona: There were 15 of us total representing various disciplines related to primary care.

Scrubs: Did you feel that Obama’s healthcare team was really listening?

Mona: I do think that the folks who head up Obama’s healthcare team do listen and are really trying to address issues. That was the consensus that we got from everybody who was present. You know, I always used to joke that we don’t have a healthcare system—we have an “illness care system.” Until we really pay attention to the primary care arena, we’re only sticking a finger in the dike—and we need to repair the dike. And they did hear us on that. I’m hopeful about what the Obama administration might do.

Scrubs: Do you feel that NPs are being used fully as a resource?

Mona: NPs are not being used fully as a resource. I think that as the largest group of healthcare providers, NPs have a lot of solutions. I don’t know if you saw it, but we had a statement that went out to Congress that the answer to primary care is 130,000 NPs. [laughs]

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