It is midnight dark. Streaks of light race across the sky. In mid-August, despite being a buffet for mosquitoes, I love to watch the Perseid meteor showers. The first time I experienced the magic of a “falling star” I was 5 or 6. I’ve been hooked ever since.
It’s not too much of a stretch to say that’s also my experience with nurse practitioners. My first exposure to an NP was almost 20 years ago. I was new to town, needed a primary care practitioner, and got an appointment with the NP in my new physician’s office. She was attentive, warm, informed, and put me completely at ease – not an easy thing to do since I have deep-seated “white coat” issues. You know, the kind where blood pressure rises 45 points… it’s ridiculous, but there it is. I was comfortable with her. I trusted her. I found a health care partner.
Jump forward 10 years. I had switched providers because my insurance changed. But it wasn’t the same. I’d come to expect a full partnership. White coat syndrome was back in full force. Then while at a conference staffing the exhibit booth for the Consortium, my former NP stopped by. She called me by name and gave me a hug. As soon as I got back in town, I resolved the insurance issues and returned to her practice.
So, I’m hooked on NPs. Although by education, training and experience, I am an educator and psychologist, it’s now my profound pleasure to be a part of the NP world. I see NPs wherever I look. Of course, there is my position with the Consortium — but it is much, much more than that.
Case in point: I was visiting my mother recently. She lives in a retirement community where the average age of the residents is 87. At 90, my mother was the youngest of our dinner companions, a vibrant, engaged group of close friends. Mrs. Dickerson (not her real name) mentioned that her daughter is an NP who wants to return to the workforce after taking time off to raise her children. Her daughter is looking for a training program to refresh her skills and get up to speed on current practice. One thing led to another. You can imagine how many stories they had about health care. As I gave Mrs. Dickerson my card, we discussed how NPs are transforming the practice of health care. They were intrigued and impressed with the emerging role of NPs in delivering nurse-managed, team-based care, driven by patient needs.
Bringing it back to the Perseids. Postgraduate NP training lights the way for novice NPs. There are over 100 postgraduate, 12-month, primary care and specialty NP training programs. Over 450 NPs have completed postgraduate training in primary care alone. Each program has unique attributes while sharing a commitment to rigor, best practices, and fostering the continuing professional development of competent and confident practitioners.
Like the Perseid meteor showers, NPs light the way into truly team-based, patient-centered care, shaping the life of individuals and the community. It’s a new era.
Wishing you end-of-summer joy, and at least a flash of magic in your life.