The Contemporary Role Of The Nurse Practitioner

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Abstract This paper explores the contemporary role of the nurse practitioner in the care of U.S. veterans within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system. The VHA is is one of the largest employers of advanced practice providers (APPs) in the United States. Currently some role confusion exists between nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs) and physicians within the system. In addition to role confusion, NPs are practicing at various levels across the country demonstrating a lack of standardization of care within the VHA. Additionally, not all practitioners are currently practicing to the full scope of their training and are often unfamiliar with the scope/role of their colleagues. The data suggests that all three…show more content…
About the time of WWI, Congress began the work to create a system that would provide U.S. veterans with programs for disability compensation, insurance for veterans and service personnel, and vocational rehabilitation for the disabled (The Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015a). At the time the goals were established, the programs were managed by three fractured agencies: The Veterans Bureau, the Bureaus of Pensions of the Interior Department and the National Home for the Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. The first of two agency consolidations took place in 1921 creating the Veterans Bureau (VB) (The Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015a). The new organization combined all WWI services with the Public Health Service Hospitals. In 1930, the recently formed Veterans Bureau would be elevated to federal agency status and the VA is born. The purpose of the agency at this time was to “consolidate and coordinate government activities affecting war veterans” (The Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015b). Included in the first consolidation was the transfer of the 1,400 nurses working within the Public Health Service Hospitals to the Veterans Administration. With the addition, the VA Nursing Service now employed 2,500 registered nurses (The Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015b). The VA Nursing Service followed a similar trajectory of expansion and evolution as the agency itself did. The role of the nurse within the VA system has included calls to combat, serving as military
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