WRMC Nurse Practitioners Offer a Practical Advantage

Literally from the day she was born, Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) Deanna Nast had a connection with White River Medical Center (WRMC). Little did she know, the facility would become more than just the place she was born, it would become the place where she developed her career as a Nurse Practitioner (NP).

NPs are registered nurses who have advanced in their education, by obtaining a Master's Degree or PhD, and clinical training, enabling them to provide a wide range of healthcare services to patients of all ages. They provide complete physical examinations of patients, as well as order diagnostic testing (X-ray, lab tests, EKG, etc.), diagnose and treat common acute and chronic illnesses, prescribe many medications, provide health education to patients, and refer patients to other specialists as needed.

"Our experience with direct patient care, along with our advanced training, gives us a unique perspective in providing care to the patients," says Nast, who started at WRMC in 2001 as a Patient Care Technician (PCT) and has now advanced, through education, to an APN.

Nast, along with the other four Nurse Practitioners at the facility, is grateful for the support of WRMC as they advanced their careers to higher level. Ellen Qualls, APN, became a WRMC employee in 1978 as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN); Michelle Lasiter, APN, started as an LPN at WRMC nearly 15 years ago; and Amber Clements-Fore and Wil Moore, both APNs, began as Patient Care Technicians (PCTs)—Clements-Fore in 1994 and Moore in 2002.

"When I became an LPN, I knew where I wanted to go with my education and WRMC has been extremely supportive and encouraging as I worked to achieve that goal," said Moore.

Currently, the Nurse Practitioners at WRMC specialize in both acute and adult care. Additionally, the surrounding White River Health System clinics have a total of 14 Nurse Practitioners.

With a shortage of healthcare providers, especially in rural regions, it can be difficult for the available physicians to supply care for all patients. Nurse Practitioners provide a solution for this demand by partnering with the physicians to provide high-quality, cost effective, patient-centered services. There are currently 148,000 NPs practicing in America today and roughly 2,600 practicing in Arkansas.

"We're not here to take the place of physicians," said Lasiter. "We're here to partner with physicians to help meet the demand of healthcare. Because we are able to order tests and provide complete examinations, physicians are able to spend more time with their patients."

"We free the physicians up so they can be available in more emergent situations," adds Clements-Fore. "It's a working relationship that benefits them and our patients."