AANP National Survey Reveals Progress, Challenges as Nurse Practitioners (NPs) Combat COVID-19

N Ps in masks

NPs Report Improved Practice Preparedness, Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); Cite Testing Access and Delayed Results as Top Challenges

AUSTIN, TEXAS — The findings of a second, nationwide trend survey of NPs assessing COVID-19’s impacts on NP professional practice demonstrate both significant progress and lingering challenges as health care providers work to stem the tide of the pandemic in communities nationwide. More than 80% of the profession reports their practices are better prepared to manage COVID-19 patients than at the start of the pandemic, with 35% indicating they are ready for a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Despite marked progress in practice readiness and improving supplies of PPE, the number of NPs now testing positive for COVID-19 has increased three-fold since the early days of the pandemic. While acknowledging improvements in access, NPs identify testing as the most significant barrier to combating COVID-19 in their communities, with one-third of NPs reporting patients being turned away from centralized testing sites for failure to meet pre-determined criteria, and 78% of NPs citing significant delays in receiving patients’ viral test results. Test result delays range from a low-end range of seven to 10 business days to a high-end of up to 20 days.

This is the second national survey fielded by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP), the largest national association of NPs of all specialties, aimed at understanding how COVID-19 is affecting the clinical practice of NPs across settings, specialties and geographic location. The survey was quickly deployed to capture insights into the NP response to the pandemic, understand challenges facing the profession and identify those policies and practices that can best support the needs of health care providers treating patients impacted by COVID-19.

NPs overwhelmingly report that federal telehealth waivers and state policy waivers aimed at temporarily suspending practice barriers and expanding access to NP-provided care have proven highly beneficial or beneficial in fighting COVID-19.

“NPs continue to demonstrate their outstanding clinical expertise and unwavering commitment to patients combating COVID-19 — from primary care to acute health care settings. Not only are NPs making significant progress in readying their practice environments to safely establish a new normal for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patient care, they are innovating the future of health and laying the groundwork for a better, more resilient health care system of the future,” said David Hebert, JD, Chief Executive Officer of AANP.

“As providers working at the forefront of this pandemic, we urge our policymakers and health care systems to work together to continue strengthening access to viral testing and bolstering the supply chain to shorten wait times for test results — which are vital to limiting outbreaks and achieving better patient outcomes,” said AANP President Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP, FNAP, FAANP. “Governors and state elected officials must support our ability to treat patients in more than 1 billion patient visits each year by immediately acting to enable NPs to practice to the top of their education and clinical training. The practice barriers of the past have no place in our current crisis — or in the future of health care.”

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The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 290,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NPs’ patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. For more information about AANP, visit aanp.org. To locate an NP near you, visit NPfinder.com.

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