Nursing News

Access to Nurse Practitioner Care Strongly Supported in Recent Poll


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November 13, 2013 - The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) in the world, recently released survey results that show widespread, national support among the general public for legislative and policy proposals that give patients access to NP care and services.

The results coincided with new findings from the nonprofit research organization the RAND Corporation, which demonstrate that much of the shortage of primary care physicians expected over the next decade could be eliminated if the nation increases use of new models of care that expand the role of NPs and other health care providers.

AANP released the results on the role of NPs in the changing American health care landscape at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Key data points from the survey include:

  • An overwhelming majority of Americans back legislation making it easier to choose NPs as their health care providers. 70% of respondents favor legislation to eliminate barriers preventing patients from choosing NPs. Among those who have received care from an NP, 72% favor such legislation, with 55% strongly favoring.
  • A two-thirds majority strongly supports allowing NPs to provide more services under Medicare. 85% of respondents support a proposal allowing NPs to handle long-term care, home care and other services under Medicare. 67% strongly support such a proposal. Strong support is highest among those who reported having seen an NP.
  • A large majority favors removal of requirements that NPs work only under the supervision of a physician. 62% of respondents support allowing NPs to provide services such as prescribing medications and ordering diagnostic tests without such supervision. This support cut across key demographics, with support for removing these restrictions as high as 70% and never dipping below 55%. (Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia grant NPs full-practice authority.)
  • There is widespread familiarity with NPs. 80% of respondents have either seen an NP or know someone who has. 53% said a family member had seen one. Personal experience with NPs holds true across demographics; over 60% report familiarity across gender, region and education.

The survey was conducted by the Mellman Group, a Washington, D.C.-based polling and consulting firm. The analysis represents the findings of a national survey of 1,000 adults. Interviews were conducted by telephone September 12th-15th, 2013. The margin of error for this survey is +/-3.1% at the 95% level of confidence.

"These results clearly confirm what we have known anecdotally for years: American health care consumers trust NPs and want greater access to the safe, effective services they provide," said Ken Miller, Co-President of AANP. "This is no surprise given that NP patients have health care outcomes that are consistent with those of physicians, and that patients consistently, and increasingly, prefer NPs as their primary health care provider."

For more information on AANP and NPs, please visit aanp.org.

SOURCE:  American Association of Nurse Practitioners