The role of advanced registered nurse has transformed overtime. Some of these changes resulted from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as an effort to increase the number of primary care providers because of the physician shortage (Baker, 2016). Nurse practitioners can fill this hole a lot quicker than physicians through a shorter training timeline. In addition too, there is an increase of patients with comorbidities and complex disease processes that have extended wait times for appointments. Nurse practitioners can assist with this problem by attending to more patients with less complex problems which makes specialty services more readily available. As a result, there has been a gain in the access to quality healthcare.
For instance, the emergence of nurse midwives has decreased the rate of maternal and infant death in rural areas. Access to midwives in these areas has also decrease low infant birth weights. According to a study from Sweden, maternal morality was one third of United States average (Hogberg, 2004). This was attributed to a healthcare reform that allowed midwives to obtain training that allowed them to “act in emergency situations when a physician was unable to be reached” (Hogberg, 2004, p. 1314). Hogberg (2004) also demonstrated that midwives educated mothers on the importance for babies to have their own beds to prevent suffocation which resulted in a two hundred present decrease in infant death.
Lastly, the growing evolution for mental health services has increased the need for prescriptive authority and knowledge for treatment. In the 1980s, mental health nurse practitioners began to obtain authority in some states to prescribe psychotropic medications (Drew, 2014, p. 299). With more ready available prescribers, patients can get medications refilled before having an acute mental health crisis. Which off sets hospital costs of patients that need immediate mental health admissions who do not hold insurance. Having a midlevel provider available to prescribe psychotropic medication could potentially lower the cost of healthcare.