No matter what you think about the new healthcare reform package as a voter and taxpayer, one thing appears certain: It will be good for your profession.
You might not see it tomorrow, or even at that 6-month benchmark when the first key elements of the law take effect. But over the next few years, a tight NP job market should open up considerably as more people access healthcare services. More NPs will be at the helm of nurse-managed health centers, which will grow in number under the legislation. And, it appears that NPs will be recognized as full providers in the healthcare home demonstration projects that will be created to improve healthcare quality and access.
As a long-time advocate for nurse practitioners, I am thrilled by the opportunities that now lay before your profession. As a voter, however, I was saddened by the process to get there. Insults and epithets, whether shouted at a town meeting, on the capitol steps or in the House chamber, were too often a feature of this "debate." I watched a great portion of the Senate action a few months ago, as well the House vote (and its prelude) last Sunday. They say politics is messy. So is the aftermath. After the dust settles, I think the nurse practitioner profession will be front and center, ready for whatever emerges.