Bridging The Gap
It’s 10:32, and you’ve already been sitting in your doctor’s office for 82 minutes. You’re sick, miserable, and you’d rather be in your pajamas with a bowl of chicken noodle soup than sitting in this hard, plastic chair next to the guy who’s hacking and sneezing. These wait times are a shared frustration for all of us. What can you do to avoid this? One option is to consider visiting a nurse practitioner.
Access to healthcare in Alabama, particularly in the River Region, has increased greatly due to the rising number of nurse practitioners. Not only are they caring and compassionate, nurse practitioners are also highly-skilled healthcare providers, each having completed either a master’s or doctoral degree beyond the initial registered nurse preparation. They are then required to pass a national certification exam before being allowed to practice as a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP), and must maintain clinical competency with continued education and professional development.
Joyce Loyd-Davis, a local CRNP, is raising awareness of the vital role that nurse practitioners play in the health and wellness of those in our area. She explains, “Nurse practitioners are making a difference in the River Region. We have increased access to healthcare and have had direct impact on improving healthcare outcomes among our patient populations. As advanced practitioners, we deliver primary care as well as specialty care within the River Region. In accordance with state regulations, we collaborate with physicians to increase access, bridge gaps in healthcare, and focus on prevention.”
Nurse practitioners provide a full range of services to patients. They order and interpret diagnostic tests, diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions, prescribe medications and other treatments, manage patient care, give patient referrals, and provide education on disease prevention and patient counseling. “With the many challenges we face today in healthcare, advanced practice clinicians of all areas offer a solution. There are networks of advanced practitioners ready to face the challenges, create access, improve health outcomes, and make a difference in our communities. There are physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists, nurse mid-wives, and other advanced practice groups ready to meet the challenges that plague our healthcare systems,” Loyd-Davis says.
In addition to being a CRNP, Loyd-Davis is also the president of a local organization called Advanced Practitioners River Region (APRR). APRR is a professional organization for advanced practice clinicians, offering education, networking, and a platform to build their voice within the community. “Our goal is to strengthen APRR membership so we can collectively continue to disintegrate barriers that affect access to healthcare. We want to bridge gaps in healthcare and also strengthen our physician collaborations. There is an annual mixer among physician and advanced practitioners held in September at the Capital City Club. This event is a great opportunity to network and focus on our collaborative efforts to deliver high quality healthcare,” she says. “We currently have a great leadership team within the organization. We will continue to find innovative ways to build our professional organization and improve our patient outcomes.”
So the next time you feel that all-too-familiar sore throat, headache, and stuffy nose, consider visiting a nurse practitioner. You’ll be back at home in your pajamas before you know it.
Joining the APRR is only a $50 annual membership fee and can be paid online at https://riverregionap.enpnetwork.com. The organization meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 6:00pm at various restaurants across the River Region. Due to the upcoming holiday, July's meeting will be on Thursday, July 6th at 5:00pm at BlackFinn Ameripub. APRR also has a biennial conference which offers pharmacology CEUs. The next one will be held in 2018. If you are interested in learning more about APRR, contact Joyce Loyd-Davis at Joyceloydd@outlook.com.