The reality is, the climate of Health care and 'jobs' is that NP who want a job, are forced to take a union job in the back of a clinic and it is common that very few, including patients or even health care providers know what a Nurse practitioner even is! Often not even the NP's "supervisor" knows what the role is about!
In other jurisdictions in North America, NP are fighting for full independent practises with full scope authority. Here in Manitoba, we are fortunate to have none of these barriers to independent practise, but there are other issues we are facing which is not creating a demand for what we do! The fact, that until recently, the only way for an NP to get employment was to apply for a "union job" and that when placed into these jobs, it is common for the role to be mistaken for a "doctor".. Mind you, we were recognized as a very different type of "doctor" in the patient's eyes, since we had a different approach to their care completely than what they had been used to. The patients do not have a good understanding of what provider they were seeing, only that they were seeing a nice "doctor". When you have common scenarios like this, the role of Nurse Practitioner does not flourish, it does not create recognition for the unique aspects of the role, nor does it create any DEMAND for the role. ... and without demand, recognition, respect and pay do not become prominent features nor a priority in the system.
Once NP are recognized as independent providers, the demand for the role will EXPLODE! the shortage of primary care providers is a serious problem and NP are best suited for the role with their holistic approach to care, compassionate communication and advocacy, to be experts at providing primary care. When there is increase demand for a provider, this causes increase in value (wage), increase recognition, more competition for wages and a high perceived value. When we are hidden in the back under a "union" job, there is very little potential for growth, recognition or change in that setting. Years of NP's being in the union have already proved this. Barely 4% of the population even have a clue what a Nurse practitioner is and what we are capable of! This is very sad! It is no wonder we have no power for negotiation, no political presence, very little say in public policy. Its all a symptom of where we are placed in the societal position and how that is being controlled (by socialist means!!)
Most ideal practise environment for NP is true team-based medicine. When we team up with other NP's with recognition and a true presence in our primary care system we will see absolutely amazing shifts in our health care system. More positive patient outcomes, NP have the ideal advocacy and interpersonal skills, cost effective, patient centred team approach to practise, share patient load to allow for NP to escape, have freedom and enjoy the income that will recognize their level of responsibility and DEMAND within the health care system.
Diane Gudmundson has been an NP for over 14 years. She has a passion for the value and uniqueness of the NP role in our health care system.