Cultivating the Role of Nurse Practitioners in Providing Primary Care to Vulnerable Populations in an Era of Health-Care Reform

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Abstract

The evolving role of nurse practitioners (NPs) as primary care providers, especially for vulnerable populations, is central to the debate regarding strategies to address the growing need for primary care services. The current article provides policy recommendations for leveraging and expanding the historic role of NPs in caring for vulnerable populations, by focusing on three key policy levers: NP scope-of-practice regulation, distribution of the NP workforce, and NP education. These policy levers must go hand in hand to build a sufficient and equitably distributed NP workforce, to help meet the escalating need for primary care in an era of health-care reform.

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