Moms, let’s face it: We’re heading into the most wonderful time of the year – when the holiday madness converges with flu season, winter concerts, report cards and freezing cold soccer games. As we attempt to recover from 5 a.m. wake-up calls and busy schedules, many of us are bracing for what is inevitably a turbulent few months ahead.
For most moms, time is scarce. If in your mind winter is synonymous with coughs, fevers and way too much time reading the same month-old waiting room magazines, there may be a better way.
National Nurse Practitioner Week is November 12-17, and if you’re a busy parent, take note. Nurse practitioners are fast becoming a secret weapon for time-pressed parents everywhere, delivering accessible, comprehensive care for families struggling to find quality access that fits their needs.
In all 50 states, nurse practitioners can see patients and prescribe medicine, and in almost two dozen states, nurse practitioners can practice independently, without the need for any physician oversight. At a time when provider shortages are making it difficult to access quality care, nurse practitioners’ fresh perspective and new delivery models are proving to be just what the parents ordered. Here are four ways nurse practitioners are saving time and sanity for busy families, along with healthy tips to help you take advantage.
Same day clinics. From the first croup cough to raging middle-of-the-night ear infections, sometimes, sickness happens after office hours. Making an expensive emergency room trip for an antibiotic is not an ideal alternative, but visiting a retail health clinic staffed by a nurse practitioner can be. Nurse practitioners make up more than 95 percent of the provider population in 2,000 retail clinics serving 35 million patients in retail stores where you can get an appointment, a diagnosis and a prescription in a single visit, and pick up the toilet paper and mouthwash you just ran out of at the same time.
Healthy tip: If you haven’t gotten flu vaccines for yourselves or your children, many clinics have immunization clinic hours or many pharmacies and retail clinics are also providing flu vaccines. Check with your pharmacy to make sure what ages are covered there.
Corporate on-site clinics. A sick parent can be even worse than a sick kid when it comes to keeping the trains running on time. Companies are picking up on this productivity nuance and staffing on-site corporate clinics with nurse practitioners to treat employees, saving workers time and headaches. Today about 30 percent of companies with more than 5,000 employees provide this time-saving benefit, and it’s paying off for families.
Healthy tip: Flu shots are not just for kids, so get a jump on the season and get your shot on office time. Your boss and your family will thank you.
Better preventative care. Research tells us nurse practitioners spend more time with patients, and when it comes to quality of care, that’s a good thing. Patient-centered training is a big focus for nurse practitioners, and in treating kids, means we focus more on things like family dynamics, school, friends and other factors impacting overall health. Many times, by design, nurse practitioner schedules allow for more consultation, which for many parents brings better outcomes and peace of mind.
Healthy tip: It’s near impossible to think clearly when you’re running interference on a two-year-old, so come equipped with the list of questions that are keeping you up at night.
Affordable quality care. A practice that includes a nurse practitioner in the rotation may decrease the cost of a patient visit by as much as a third, and independently, nurse practitioners can potentially reduce office visit costs as much as 25 percent. This reality has helped retail clinics take off, and is especially important for families looking for affordable, high-quality care.
Healthy tip: Look for nurse practitioners in clinics, retail stores and schools to help keep your family healthy, on a budget.
No matter how busy life gets, family health should always be a top priority, and nurse practitioners are making that easier than ever. If you’re stuck in a rut or looking for accessible quality care to make it through the long winter months, connect with the nurse practitioners in your community. From your provider of choice to your second opinion to your trusted emergency backup, there’s a nurse practitioner for that, and more than likely they’re open and waiting for you. Nurse practitioners are your partner in health.
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