The Role of Nurse Practitioners in Primary Health Care: A Force for the Future
Keywords:Nurse practitioner, Primary health care, Thailand
The important workforce that drives and enhances the quality of primary health care (PHC) is the nurse practitioner (NP). However, it remains doubtful whether the NP can truly help PHC achieve its ultimate goal as expected. This article provides the reviews of related literature that include lessons experienced by Thai NPs. The results show four benefits of (1) the patients, (2) the healthcare system, (3) healthcare expenditures, and (4) the career advancement. The work-related challenges of NPs were found to include: (1) the lack of precise work policies; (2) the lack of clarity related to the NP role; (3) the risks of medical malpractice; and (4) unfair compensation. For PHC to achieve its goal, the NPs are still perceived as a necessary mechanism and vital driving force. Yet, the main weakness of Thai NPs work lies in unclear work-related policy; thus a solution related to its management system is urgently needed.
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