Virtual healthcare

By Risa Kerslake, RN, BSN

The Good Clinic’s chief nurse practitioner officer, Kevin Lee Smith, recently talked to Medscape about the growth of the nurse-practitioner field and our NP-led clinics and model of care.

A chain of primary care clinics in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is likely the first of its kind to be staffed entirely by nurse practitioners (NPs). The Good Clinic offers patients 40-minute exams, as opposed to the 10- to 15-minute appointments typically allotted for physician-staffed clinics, as well as a 1-day wait time instead of 2 weeks.

The chain of six primary care clinics, owned by healthcare holding company Mitesco, Inc, seeks to address the shortage of doctors, particularly among primary care physicians, which results in longer wait times, delayed care, and shorter patient visits.

“As the nation seeks solutions to the challenges of healthcare access and the rising incidence of chronic disease, it is no surprise that NPs are increasingly the provider of choice for patients,” said April Kapu, DNP, APRN, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

NPs are in a prime position to address healthcare disparities and ensure quality and equitable healthcare access for millions of people in the United States, she said.

According to 2021 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 40% increase in the number of NPs is expected over the next 10 years.

Currently, 26 states and Washington, DC, have given full-practice authority (FPA) to NPs, according to the AANP. FPA, as defined by the organization, gives NPs the authority to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients, as well as order and interpret diagnostic tests under the state board of nursing. This eliminates the need of a collaborative practice agreement between an NP and a physician to provide care.

NPs in Minnesota have FPA, which allows them to see patients and prescribe without doctor oversight.

In a report released last year by the Association of American Medical Colleges, it is projected that there will be a shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians within 12 years.

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