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Nurses react to shortage of healthcare providers across the state
This year's Nebraska Nurse Practitioner Conference was a step towards better healthcare in our state.
While nurses focused on furthering their education, they're also working on bridging the gap with health care providers.
News 5's Lauren Conley spoke with members of Nebraska Nurse Practitioners on the state's nurse's shortage.
Across the U.S. we're seeing a shortage of healthcare providers. That shortage is even more alarming in Nebraska.
Right now, there are 55 nurse practitioner's to every 100,000 residents.
"It is alarming," said Sharon Gossman, President of Nebraska Nurse Practitioners. "There are counties in Nebraska that do not have access. No nurse practitioners, no physicians, physician's assistants within thirty miles or more."
But, Nebraska Nurse Practitioners has a solution for that; eliminating the Integrated Practice Agreement.
It requires a physician collaborate on nurse practitioner licenses.
"As you move west and towards the more remote communities, it becomes increasingly difficult for nurse practitioner's to find a physician that is willing to enter into that relationship and it's a barrier to practice," said Kathy Hoebelheinrich, Secretary of Nebraska Nurse Practitioners. "You cannot prescribe, you cannot see patients without that integrated practice agreement."
Eighteen states, including Iowa and Colorado have already eliminated the IPA.
There's a movement to do the same here in Nebraska.
"I think it would make a huge impact on the state of Nebraska and the public," Gossman said. "Our main focus is to care for the patients that we could serve, if we were allowed to practice fully."
"We should allow nurses to increasingly enter the workforce and move into these communities, perhaps where they're already living and deliver services," Hoebelheinrich said.
It's a common feeling among nurse practitioners, that eliminating the IPA will allow them to practice to their full scope of licensure.
"We feel that nurse practitioners are the answer to that healthcare shortage," Gossman said.
A hearing on eliminating the IPA will go before the Legislative Technical Review Committee on Friday, February 22nd.
Nebraska Nurse Practitioners are hoping it will be eliminated by 2014.
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