Access to health care continues as focus at conference

Access to health care continues as focus at conference

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Latest patient care advances, annual member meeting round out conference agenda

Over 300 nurse practitioners from across the state spent three days in Tulsa, learning the latest patient care advances and applications during the Oklahoma Association of Nurse Practitioners annual conference.
AONP president Margaret Rosales said the conference was also an opportunity to remind nurse practitioners to get involved in advocating for the profession and continuing the legislative push for full practice authority.
“We’ve made incredible strides in recent years educating the public on how nurse practitioners can increase access to health care and building support for legislation that would allow us to better serve Oklahomans,” said AONP President Margaret Rosales. “With elections just around the corner, we look forward to working with new and returning legislators to improve the health of Oklahomans.”
AONP plans to work with lawmakers to introduce legislation that will allow them to work at the full scope of their education and training.
Across the country, states are increasingly turning to nurse practitioners to increase access to health care. Twenty-two states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs all allow their nurse practitioners to put their full education and training to use.
Kurtis Crawford has been a nurse practitioner for three years. He attended the University of Wyoming and earned his Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2015, then moved home to Sand Springs.
“I moved back to be close to family and immediately found out I was constrained in my practice. It was a shock,” Crawford said. “Having to have a physician’s signature and pay that provider thousands of dollars a year wasn’t something I saw in Wyoming.
“It’s really just not logical to consider me unsafe without a physician’s signature, but if I go across a state line, or walk into a veteran’s hospital, suddenly it’s safe for me to independently practice again,” he continued. “If it wasn’t for family, I’d strongly consider moving to a state with full practice.”
Rosales said the most exciting part of the conference is talking with nurse practitioners from across Oklahoma about what’s going on in their communities and in their practices.
“In communities across the state, nurse practitioners are doing some very exciting things,” she said. “This week I’ve met nurse practitioners who are serving children and families in rural Oklahoma, breaking down barriers to care for homeless individuals, planning to open new clinics and caring for their neighbors. The people who choose to enter this field are amazing and they inspire me to do better in my work each and every day.”
For more information about AONP, visit to npofoklahoma.com.

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