Celebrating 50 Years of Nurse Practitioners!

By Dawn Patterson, CFNP, ACNP, ENP

Happy Birthday, Nurse Practitioners! This year celebrates the 50th year since the development of the Nurse Practitioner role in advanced practice. I was extremely proud to be able to represent Keystone Healthcare Management and mingle with nearly 6,000 of my NP colleagues at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners’ annual conference in New Orleans this month. I have been fortunate to have spent 20 of the 50 years practicing as a NP and couldn’t help but be a bit nostalgic while looking back to my NP beginnings. We’ve come a long way!

I am proud of the accomplishments and respect NPs have earned through the years by sheer hard work, sweat and determination. At the beginning of my career, I remember having to explain to patients the NP role. Physician and nurse colleagues were skeptical of NP capabilities, and insurance companies often refused NP reimbursement. I am glad to say that after years of chipping away at the barriers limiting NPs, so many of them have gradually fallen. Patients now not only know what a NP is; they ask to see me. My physician and nurse colleagues value my input and often turn to me as a resource. Insurance companies now directly reimburse to NPs, many of whom own their own practices. When looking back, I become excited and optimistic regarding the opportunities to come!

Wishing all of my NP colleagues a Happy Birthday and many more years to come.