Happy Memorial Day Weekend! I hope you have plans to take it easy over the holiday. I'm looking forward to a Monday spent by the pool rather than at my desk, and an evening back deck grill session rather than the typical Monday takeout routine. What do you have planned for Memorial Day? If you find yourself with some spare time, check out this week's more interesting medical news.
Pain management has taken center stage as a hot topic in medicine recently. With prescribing of opioids at an all time high, we've seen an increase in deaths related to overdose as well as a spike in the number of patients addicted to these medications. As nurse practitioners, we struggle with the prescribing of pain medications as we treat our patients. Pain is real, and part of our responsibility as healthcare providers is to alleviate it. On the other hand, we must do so in a manner that mitigates the negative side effects and consequences of providing these drugs.
As a group, my nurse practitioner coworkers and I in the emergency department, enjoy some freedom in the way we structure staffing. Shift length has traditionally been determined largely based on input from members of the group. And, it seems, we have a difficult time reaching a consensus.
The lines are certainly blurred when it comes to nurse practitioners practicing in specialty areas. Family nurse practitioners, for example, have a broad medical background, and are trained to treat patients of all ages. This foundational knowledge prepares FNPs to work in a variety of settings, even those outside of primary care. Such grey lines create professional confusion, and questions about scope of practice guidelines.