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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nurse Practitioners to the Rescue

Given our current focus on health care reform, now is the perfect time to reintroduce you to Nurse Practitioners. We've been hearing the panic out there right? The panic that there won't be enough doctors to take care of us! CNN reported today that the Family doctor is "an endangered breed." CNN said that in the past 10 years most medical school graduates picked higher-paid specialities like orthopedics or dermatology, and only 10% chose primary care. CNN barely mentioned that Nurse Practitioners provide primary care. All CNN said at the end of the article was..."should nurse practitioners fill in the gaps?" What it's really about is educating the public about Nurse Practitioners and what we do. OK, there's more to it than that. Nurse Practitioners are forever butting heads with the AMA (American Medical Association). The AMA and MD lobbyists are constantly trying to manipulate policy makers into believing that MDs should somehow supervise Nurse Practitioners. The AMA is afraid that NPs will "take over." So here's what a Nurse Practitioner is: a registered nurse with a master's degree and licensed to diagnose and manage illness and disease and to prescribe medications. We can care for you and we can cure you. The regulations differ from state to state. But I practice in Connecticut and I have a license, I am board certified, and I can prescribe medications. Unfortunately, I am forced to "collaborate" with an MD. In other words, the AMA and MD lobbyists have used their powers to convince government and policy makers that Nurse Practitioners "need supervision." We do not need MD supervision. And some of it is outright extortion! In order to practice in Connecticut, we have to have an agreement with an MD, and in most cases, that MD charges us a ridiculous fee just to list them as our "collaborator" on the agreement. Some Nurse Practitioners have to pay MDs hundreds of dollars a month just to use their name on the state-required agreement! As a Nurse Practitioner, I give you a full physical exam, I do a complete history and review of your body systems, I listen to your concerns, I order lab tests, xrays, ultrasounds, whatever tests you need, I prescribe medications for you, and here is the important part...if I find something wrong with you that is more than I can help you with, I am trained to identify it and refer you to the correct specialist. In other words, we are trained to realize what is "out of our scope of practice." I don't need to ask a doctor what I should do for you. I know what to do for you. And if I don't know what to do for you, I make sure I get you to the right specialist who does know what to do for you. So go visit a Nurse Practitioner for you care! And to all the NPs out there, let's keep the fight alive in the government, let's keep fighting for our independence...we work side-by-side with doctors, not beneath them!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ode to the Wooly Mammoth

People are stressed out about everything these days. I’ve had numerous requests to help people with their stress levels. Money, jobs, health care, and of course…your carbon footprint! The social pressures to “be green” are just plain dumb. Yes I said it…dumb. If I have to hear anymore from Al Gore about the demise of earth, and the notion that it’s my entire fault…well, I’m going to puke. Stop stressing us out Mr. Gore! I don’t know my carbon footprint, I drink bottled water, and I drive a gas guzzler…so there! That makes me an outcast! I feel the disapproving stares of my neighbors as I drive away in my 5.7liter hemi. I might as well wear a fur coat to a PETA rally! So what’s a girl to do? I know…remember the Wooly Mammoth. Think back to elementary school when you learned about the ice age and those fabulous creatures known as the Wooly Mammoths. They even have a cool name! Hmmm…the ice age, remember that? There is tons of research over decades that can explain why the ice age ended. Was it global warming? I’ll summarize the well-studied and replicated data for you; scientists were able to determine the end of the ice age some 19,000 years ago, and said that the melting began in the higher latitudes and worked its way down to the tropics. Yes, elevated carbon dioxide levels were involved…just like the global warming theory of present day. But here’s the more important fact…the principal driver of climate change is the sun. True! Gee…it even kind of makes sense. We learned about the sun and its powers in elementary school too. So the scientists said that the end of the ice age happened because there were temperature increases brought about by the orbit of the earth around the sun, which then warmed up the deep ocean, and that in turn released carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the carbon dioxide simply enhanced the temperature increase that the sun had already initiated. Really simple right? Is anyone getting it yet? Could it be that the climate change, if it is happening now, is related to the earth’s orbit and the sun and not my 5.7liter hemi? Back to the Wooly Mammoth…it is extinct because of two things, climate change and a change in human hunting patterns. And today there are many animals that are also on the brink of extinction…due to climate change and human patterns. My point, it is inevitable that species will become extinct and it is inevitable that the climate will change. But it’s evolution; it’s not a man-made-guilt-ridden-hysterical-state-of-fear-alarmist-buy-a-hybrid-stop-drinking-bottled-water-know-your-carbon-footprint-or-the-world-is-going-to-end-phenomenon! Hear this, the global warming theory is just that…a theory. And a theory is simply an abstract thought, speculation, a hypothesis, an unproved assumption. There are currently over 18000 scientists who signed The Oregon Petition. It is a petition stating that there is no evidence that global warming is a man-made occurrence. And to President Obama, please don’t make America a part of the Kyoto Agreement. The Kyoto protocol was signed by 141 nations and it entails the “stabilization of greenhouse gases.” The financial burden of instituting the changes would be devastating to the United States. Remember…the sun and the orbit is tried and true science. Don’t buy into the global warming thing. Don’t start making major life changes because of Al Gore and his social pressures. Sit back and really analyze it, take a good look at your elementary school science book about the ice age and about the sun and the earth’s orbit. And I’m going to drive my gas guzzling 5.7liter hemi into the sunset.