Murray State University

Poster Title

The Role of the Nurse Clinician in International Aid

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

The responsibilities of the nurse as a clinician expanded immensely over the past 20 years. Modern nurses regularly perform duties once thought solely to be in the realm of the physician. The ability to anesthetize patients, suture wounds, oversee clinics, and prescribe medications have been commonplace for the advanced practice nurse. This increase in scope of practice has allowed nurses to serve in ever-expanding capacities in the hospital setting and beyond. While United States-based nurses have served in international aid organizations, the expanding territory of their clinical space presented a unique opportunity: As clinicians, advanced practice nurses can assume roles in aid organizations (such as Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross/Red Crescent) that were formerly reserved for physicians. Utilizing nurses means accessing a much larger pool of healthcare professionals and adept clinicians that may represent a significant cost savings to the budget-minded nonprofits. Cost savings in such groups would translate to additional care given to people who are desperately in need. Many studies exist that explore the expanding role of the nurse; however, studies that explore the benefits of that role in international aid remain sparse. For this research, completed using information from Doctors Without Borders, recommendations have been made regarding the economic, health, and social benefits of engaging the full clinical capacity of the modern nurse in administration of health care around the world.

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The Role of the Nurse Clinician in International Aid

The responsibilities of the nurse as a clinician expanded immensely over the past 20 years. Modern nurses regularly perform duties once thought solely to be in the realm of the physician. The ability to anesthetize patients, suture wounds, oversee clinics, and prescribe medications have been commonplace for the advanced practice nurse. This increase in scope of practice has allowed nurses to serve in ever-expanding capacities in the hospital setting and beyond. While United States-based nurses have served in international aid organizations, the expanding territory of their clinical space presented a unique opportunity: As clinicians, advanced practice nurses can assume roles in aid organizations (such as Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross/Red Crescent) that were formerly reserved for physicians. Utilizing nurses means accessing a much larger pool of healthcare professionals and adept clinicians that may represent a significant cost savings to the budget-minded nonprofits. Cost savings in such groups would translate to additional care given to people who are desperately in need. Many studies exist that explore the expanding role of the nurse; however, studies that explore the benefits of that role in international aid remain sparse. For this research, completed using information from Doctors Without Borders, recommendations have been made regarding the economic, health, and social benefits of engaging the full clinical capacity of the modern nurse in administration of health care around the world.