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Feasibility of Nurse Practitioner Programmes in Nepal discussed

2023 Jul 05, 20:55,
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A virtual discussion on 'Feasibility of Nurse Practitioner Programs in Nepal' was organized by the US-NPRC recently.

Numerous speakers with many years of experience who are actively engaged in Healthcare in US and Nepal were invited to discuss the importance of expanding primary healthcare in Nepal and the importance of recognizing and expanding Nurse practitioners’ programs in Nepal to improve overall healthcare in Nepal, the US-NPRC said in a press release.

President of Nepalese America Nurses Association, Professor at Rutgers University, Dr Sangita Pudasainee-Kapri opened up the programme by giving the audience overview of the Nurse Practitioners Program in the US including history, recent improvements in the field, the scope of practice, training, curriculum as well as insights on the potential scope of practice in the health care context of Nepal.

She also talked about the challenges when implementing such a programme in Nepal. She mentioned that nurse practitioner programmes in the United States offer different specialty areas such as Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP), Adult-Gerontology (AGNP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNP), Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP), etc.

"In Nepal, initiating a program for Community Family Health Practitioners would be beneficial," suggested Dr Pudasainee-Kapri at the programme moderated by Dr Sudikshya Baskota.

Dr Poonam KC who had been practicing for many years as a Nurse practitioner in the US, recently returned back to Nepal currently working at Norvic Hospital as chief Nursing officer discussed benefits as well as laid out the foundation of social, political, structural, academic and clinical challenges in implementing Nurse practitioner programme in Nepal.

She said several studies, including randomized controlled trials, have shown that nurse practitioners can improve healthcare delivery and patient satisfaction while reducing healthcare costs. She also discussed the expansion of NPs in other Asian countries including India and gave an evidence-based perspective on its benefits to the healthcare system that is similar to Nepal.

Both the Nurse practitioners Drs. KC and Kapri left with inspiring notes on the role of NPs to improve the healthcare system, education, much-needed nurse empowerment as well preventative care which is widely lacking in Nepal’s healthcare system currently.

In the virtual program chaired by Jagadamba Adhikaree from Seattle, US, President of the Nepal Medical Association, Dr. Anil Karki gave his insight on the potential conflict between doctors and potential nurse practitioners who may overlap in practice. For example, nurse practitioners (NPs) have the potential to play a significant role in preventive care, which primary care physicians traditionally provide. He suggested that in addition to providing primary care and acute care, NPs can also collaborate with public health officials to investigate outbreaks, monitor infectious diseases, and provide vaccinations and surveillance.

Dean of Patan Academy of Health Sciences, School of Nursing & Midwifery, Professor Sarala KC discussed the current situation of the nursing field in Nepal, the migration of nurses to developed countries for better opportunities leading to potential shortages of nurses in Nepal in the near future. She further added that even though nurse practitioners are capable of delivering quality healthcare services, there is no provision for nurse practitioners in the Nepal Health Service Act, 2053 (1997). Therefore, policy changes are required. She also emphasized the need to update the nursing curriculum to enhance the skills of nurses.

With this context, Dr Poonam and Dr Sangita discussed how the NP program can also be a potential solution and opportunity for career growth for current Nurses.

Vice President of Nepal America Medical Foundation, Dr Sapkota expanded the conversation on the role of advanced healthcare practitioners such as NPs other than MDs who can benefit the healthcare system of Nepal in improving preventative as well specialty healthcare.

Lastly, the Chairman of the Nepal Medical Council, Dr Bhagwan Koirala ended the programme by giving an insight on policies that will have to be in place to expand the scope of practice to NP in Nepal. He also gave a potential starting point for this degree to be recognized in Nepal and ongoing curriculum improvements, physician supervision and so on needed for this programme to work in the context of Nepal.



Virtual Discussion Nurse Practitioner Programs Dr Sangita Pudasainee-Kapri curriculum improvements
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