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The American Association of Nurse Practitioners®(AANP) conducted the COVID-19 Nurse Practitioner (NP) Impact Survey to assess how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected NP clinical practice across settings, specialties and geographic locations. Results indicate that NPs in all practice arenas are treating patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (61%) as well as offering COVID-19 testing at their practices (58%). While many improvements in testing access and medical equipment supply chains have been noted since the beginning of the pandemic, NPs identified lack of testing (47%) and lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) (24%) as the top barriers to treating patients with COVID-19 in their communities. In many locales, testing for COVID-19 is limited to patients who meet a narrow set of eligibility criteria (69%).
Personal and family health and safety are critical to NPs, yet nearly four out of five NP respondents reused PPE (79%) and more than one out of every two NPs were exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in their practice or elsewhere (53%). Further, more than a third of NPs self-identified as being in a high-risk group due to age or pre-existing conditions (39%), and about one in 10 sought alternative accommodations (9%) to avoid exposing their family members.
NPs have adjusted their practice to account for changes in the health care environment and the suspension of elective procedures, as well as to comply with state-level emergency declarations. The survey revealed that most NPs remained in the same NP role for the same employer between the beginning of March and mid-May (84%), but just under two-thirds had experienced an increase or decrease in hours worked (65%) and more than a third had reductions in salary or pay cuts (36%). These changes are likely due to a significant reduction in patient volume (84%) and the decrease in reimbursement related to shifts in practice from in-person to virtual care. Greater than half of NPs report their practices have adopted, or increased use of, telehealth and virtual platforms (51%) to continue to see patients for routine and chronic care management, and almost three out of five NPs reported implementing new screening protocols and patient flow models (58%) in their practices to both preserve and promote patients’ access to quality health care.
According to AANP CEO David Hebert, JD, “This survey demonstrates the significant contributions NPs are making nationwide to combat COVID-19. The majority of NPs are treating patients with COVID-19 and delivering vital care across primary, acute and specialty health care settings, both in person and via telehealth. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP will share its members’ insights with Congress, state legislators and other policy leaders to strengthen health care access for all patients during and after this crisis and will advocate for the needs of the NP role.”
AANP is committed to staying connected to members, and all NPs, as states across the nation move through phased reopening by conducting periodic surveys and continuing to evaluate the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on practices and providers.
NPs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who are prepared at the master’s or doctoral level to provide primary, acute, chronic and specialty care to patients of all ages and walks of life. Daily practice includes assessment; ordering, performing, supervising and interpreting diagnostic and laboratory tests; making diagnoses; initiating and managing treatment, including prescribing medication and nonpharmacologic treatments; coordinating care; counseling; and educating patients, their families and their communities. NPs practice in nearly every health care setting and hold prescriptive authority in all 50 states and Washington D.C. AANP is the largest professional membership organization for NPs and represents the interests of the more than 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. For more information about AANP, visit aanp.org.