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Nurses in the 21st Century – Melissa Batchelor-Murphy

(Dec. 12, 2016) Catherine Read discusses the changes in the nursing profession with Melissa Batchelor Murphy, PhD, RN-BC, FNP-BC. Since Florence Nightingale first introduced nursing as a profession in the 19th century, there has been a steady evolution around what it means to “practice nursing.” There is now a variety of educational pathways, degrees and specialities within the field.

Dr. Batchelor-Murphy walks through what the various designations mean and how Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are delivering a great deal of the healthcare among specific populations like those in rural areas and to veterans being served by the Veterans Health Administration. A ruling just this week by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) grants three APRN roles (nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, and clinical nurse specialists) the ability to practice to the full extent of their education and training.

There is legislation at both the Federal level and state level to address regulations around what services APRNs may provide without needing a collaborating physician to sign off. Regulations vary from state to state with many states with high rural populations recognizing that a physician shortage in remote areas creates a challenge for delivery of basic health services. As more physicians specialize, the pool of General/Family Practitioners shrinks.

Nurses are also increasingly choosing to pursue specialities, although the distribution is uneven. Dr. Batchelor-Murphy who focuses her nursing practice on geriatric patients is part of only 1% of three million nurses nationwide who has chosen to do so. Despite a population hitting age 65 at a rate of 10,000 per day, there are not enough gerontologists to meet the need.

Dr. Batchelor-Murphy addresses the challenges of a lack of diversity among nurses, the cost considerations in pursuing a degree in nursing and the shortage of nurse educators in programs around the country. While much is being done to raise the visibility of the nursing profession and to increase the scope of services APRNs are able to provide, there is a long way to go in attracting both men and women of diverse backgrounds to consider the field.

More information and inquiries for Dr. Batchelor-Murphy can be sent to her via her website at www.DementiaCareNP.com

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