By Becky Compton and Molly Sandel
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the dedication of our nation’s health care heroes — the incredible men and women who have been working tirelessly since March to prevent community spread while continuing to provide primary and specialty care to patients of all ages and from all walks of life.
Among these heroes are more than 290,000 nurse practitioners (NPs), including more than 13,000 in Virginia. This week, Nov. 8-14, is National Nurse Practitioner Week, a time dedicated to recognizing these special health care professionals and the valuable work they do every day.
NPs are advanced practice registered nurses who have master’s, and often doctorate, degrees as well as extensive clinical training in the diagnosis and management of common and complex medical conditions. NPs provide a full range of health care services, guide patients in making educated health care decisions and promote healthy lifestyle choices every day.
Many of these providers work in rural and underserved areas to expand access to care to Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens. NPs also work to end health disparities and combat systemic racism in health care.
Throughout Virginia, NPs consult and collaborate using a patient care team approach and work everywhere from large hospital settings and medical offices to free and mobile health clinics, where they focus on adult and pediatric care, women’s health, mental health and other specialties.