Nurse Practitioners Prepare for Mounting Coronavirus Cases

AUSTIN, TEXAS — On March 9, Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP, FNAP, FAANP, president of American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) issued the following statement concerning efforts underway by policymakers and the nation's 290,000 licensed nurse practitioners (NPs) to combat the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):

"The American Association of Nurse Practitioners is encouraged that the Administration, Congress, governors and state health departments are moving forward to ensure health care providers have adequate access to medical supplies, information and resources to meet the urgent needs of patients infected with COVID-19. As the NP workforce responds to the growing outbreak, we urge an ongoing dialogue between health care providers, policymakers and health systems to ensure evolving resource needs are met to combat the virus.

"At times like this, it's important for patients to be informed with facts and tools they need to make sound health care decisions. As front line care providers, NPs know that prevention and early detection are the cornerstones of health and infectious disease control. We encourage individuals to practice self care measures, including handwashing, covering coughs, avoid touching their face, staying home if not feeling well and calling their primary care nurse practitioner or other health care provider if they have symptoms like fever, cough or known exposures. For the majority of Americans, this outbreak is not life-threatening and for those who may experience complications, NPs will be working with all of our colleagues in the health care workforce to ensure patients receive the highest standard of care. AANP urges patients to familiarize themselves with the information provided by the CDC and local health departments on their websites and social channels for the latest news in their local areas. Together, we can overcome this."

COVID-19 has an incubation period of two to 14 days, and symptoms include a mild to severe respiratory illness that may also include a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Those who are symptomatic are the most contagious, although it is possible that the disease can spread in the absence of symptoms. Comprehensive information on COVID-19, including symptoms, spread-prevention tips, information for specific groups like schools and businesses, clinical resources for health care providers and travel restrictions, can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 spreads person-to-person via respiratory droplets produced from coughs or sneezes that are then inhaled by another person. Exposure to COVID-19 is also possible by touching infected surfaces exposed to the virus and then touching your own nose, mouth or eyes. The CDC reports that the virus causing COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily within communities in some geographic areas.

Following the recent designation by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of COVID-19 as a global public health emergency, U.S. federal, state and local health officials are closely monitoring the ongoing outbreak.

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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 NPs, visit aanp.org.