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Celebrating Advanced Practice Nurses during Nurses Week

by Capt. Deborah Price, DNP, MPH, Chief Clinical Consultant for Advanced Practice Nursing, Phoenix Indian Medical Center

Happy Nurses Week to all of our Indian Health Service registered nurses, including our outstanding advanced practice nurses. This dedicated cadre of professional nurses, including nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives, is truly making a difference throughout Indian Country.

All APNs share roots as registered nurses who have completed advanced degrees at the master’s or doctoral level and have advanced clinical training beyond their initial RN preparation. Indian Health Service APNs fall under the IHS scope of advanced practice nursing which supports full scope, independent practice appropriate to each specialty. Though the historical roots vary, all APNs can be proud of a rich tradition of providing care to vulnerable populations. APNs are the health partner of choice for millions of Americans, including many served by the Indian Health Service. This surely reflects nursing’s status as the most trusted profession in America!

APNs are making a difference throughout the IHS, from urban and rural hospitals to remote health stations to school-based clinics-bringing their “special touch” to all they serve. What sets APNs apart from other health care providers is the blending of their nursing values and emphasis on the health and well-being of the whole person with medical expertise in diagnosis and treatment.

Nurse practitioners make up the largest share of APNs in the Indian Health Service, providing primary and specialty care across the age spectrum in diverse settings. Whatever their specialty, NPs bring their unique nursing perspective and personal touch to caring.

Certified nurse-midwives have served the Indian Health Service since 1969 when the first was assigned to a remote village in Alaska. Though primarily recognized for excellent maternity care and immediate newborn care, nurse-midwives also provide a wide range of services that include primary care, family planning, and gynecological care for women throughout their lives.

The certified registered nurse anesthetist APNs have been providing anesthesia care to patients in the United States for more than 150 years, beginning on the battlefields in the Civil War, on the front-lines in World Wars I and II, and currently administer more than 50 million anesthetics per year across the country.

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Thank you to all APNs dedicated to serve the Indian Health Service mission.

Capt. Deborah Price, DNP, MPH, Chief Clinical Consultant for Advanced Practice Nursing, Phoenix Indian Medical Center

Capt. Price is a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner, currently providing integrated behavioral health services as a member of the primary care team at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center. She is the Indian Health Service Chief Clinical Consultant for Advanced Practice Nursing and has long served as an advocate for nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives and nurse anesthetists in the IHS.