ANA letter to the editor of New York Post in response to op-ed denigrating APRNs.

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ANA letter to the editor of New York Post in response to op-ed denigrating APRNs. 

On Jan. 6 the New York Post published an op-ed by Betsy McCaughey, “When a nurse is your health-care provider, you’re at risk.”McCaughey served as New York’s lieutenant governor under George Pataki and has a reputation as a health care misinformer, a title she earned as recipient of the first-ever award by that name in 2009 by Media Matters for America.
 In response to McCaughey’s divisive and disparaging piece, ANA sent the following response to the New York Post. We have been in contact with the newspaper and anticipate that a version of this letter will be published in the print edition early next week.  Other national nursing organizations and the Coalition for Patients’ Rights have also submitted letters.  If the op-ed was picked up in your state, you may wish to send a letter consistent with ANA’s response.

Letter to the Editor
“When a nurse is your health-care provider, you’re at risk”
On Jan. 1, a law went into effect that will help improve the health of New Yorkers. How? The law allows experienced advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), such as nurse practitioners, to provide health care services more autonomously, thereby ensuring greater access to affordable, high-quality primary care and reduced health care costs.
As such, it is disappointing for Betsy McCaughey to denigrate APRNs in her op-ed “When a nurse is your health-care provider, you’re at risk.”(Op-ed, Jan. 6) McCaughey’s piece is another in a long line of divisive attempts to ignore the facts and promote a status quo that does not benefit patients. It also perpetuates McCaughey’s reputation as a health care misinformer, a title she earned as recipient of the first-ever award by that name in 2009 by Media Matters for America.

In her attempt to disparage APRNs, McCaughey ignores decades of peer-reviewed research which consistently shows that APRNs -- nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists -- provide high-quality care that produces patient outcomes comparable to those achieved by physicians, with high rates of patient satisfaction.  Further, McCaughey makes outrageous statements about APRN education and training that have no basis in fact. Graduate education and national certifications do not prepare APRNs to “treat symptoms.” APRNs prescribe, initiate and coordinate patient care, diagnose ailments, order and interpret tests, and manage chronic health conditions, many of the same services provided by physicians.  To imply otherwise is to be at best willfully ignorant, and at worst, dishonest.

Registered nurses are both the largest group of health care professionals and consistently rated by the public as the most trusted. Further, policymakers are calling on nurses to assume a greater role in shaping a more patient-centric health care system and providing a greater range of services so that consumers benefit from the full range of their expertise.  The future of patient care and the need to improve the nation’s health calls on all health care professionals to work as a team. We all deserve nothing less. 
 
Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN 

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