November 9-15 is National Nurse Practitioner Week, an event designed to recognize the contributions that nurse practitioners (NPs) make to our health care system. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), there are more than 192,000 NPs practicing in the US today, approximately 8% of whom focus on women’s health.
Obstetricians and gynecologists have a long and respectful history of working side by side with NPs. We recognize the importance of our interdependent relationship in the care of women. The friendly and reassuring face of an NP is often the first encounter a woman may have in seeking health care. Whether it occurs in an ob-gyn office or in other extended integrated systems of care, working collaboratively with NPs has allowed increased access and improved the overall quality of care for women.
One of my presidential initiatives is a new Task Force on Collaborative Practice, which includes members from a diverse group of medical organizations, including the AANP and National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH). The Task Force is reviewing ACOG’s 1995 Guidelines for Implementing Collaborative Practice to explore ways that collaborative practice models can be best used in the evolving health care landscape. I’m proud to be working with AANP and NPWH on this important initiative.
When ob-gyns and other health care providers work together, we can better ensure that women receive the best quality of care. Please join me in honoring all that NPs contribute to women’s health care!
About John C. Jennings, MD
John C. Jennings, MD is the president of ACOG through April 2015. He is professor of ob-gyn at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin. Dr. Jennings was in private practice in San Angelo, TX, for 12 years before entering academic medicine. He has served as head of gynecology and program director of ob-gyn at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC; professor and program director of ob-gyn at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston; chair and program director of ob-gyn at TTUHSC at Amarillo; and regional dean of the school of medicine at TTUHSC at the Permian Basin.