Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) provides healthcare services to people aged 65 and older. These professionals may be involved in such settings as emergency departments, specialty clinics, intensive care units, and acute wards. The scope of duties may vary across the states.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities
Typical duties and responsibilities of AGNPs include managing medications and the implementation of the treatment plan (Hamric, Hanson, Tracy & O’Grady, 2014). These professionals are often involved in the process of diagnosing and treatment of the disorder itself as well as associated injuries. The AGNP also has an important duty that consists of training and educating patients and their caregivers on a number of issues (Mauk, 2010).
These issues include the disease treatment and prevention of other (associated) disorders or injuries, a healthy lifestyle (exercise, diet), and involvement of the community and accessible services. Clearly, the effective AGNP develops proper relationships with the patient and the caregiver, which can help the healthcare professional provide healthcare services as well as psychological and emotional support.
Major Concerns and Malpractice
One of the most common concerns in the practice of AGNP is associated with infections gained in the healthcare unit. Nurse practitioners may improperly manage medication and provide some services (especially injections) that may lead to infections (Joel, 2013). This type of malpractice has led to numerous cases of permanent injury (even brain injury and paralysis) of patients. Such cases are often associated with significant negative effects for patients, their families as well as financial losses for the healthcare unit.
Another considerable concern is the lack of collaboration among healthcare professionals. Treatment plans are often improperly followed as healthcare practitioners fail to complete the necessary documents properly (Mauk, 2010). Written communication (involving documentation) is often inefficient. Medic errors often occur due to this malpractice.
One of the policies associated with malpractice is the malpractice insurance policy. Nursing professionals are encouraged to obtain this type of insurance to make sure that their interests (not the ones of the healthcare facility) are protected (Joel, 2013). This policy can have positive effects on the development of the system as the professionals’ voices are heard and their rights and interests are taken into account. Importantly, healthcare professionals can be sure that their particular actions will be analyzed. AGNP are encouraged to take full responsibility for their actions.
At the same time, this policy has quite an insignificant impact on the prevention of malpractice. Another policy is more effective in this respect. The Nursing Practice Act (S.B. 491) includes a description of the responsibilities of nursing practitioners. It also contains descriptions of cases when NPs should address other healthcare professionals and when they can and should rely on their competence and their decisions (Medical liability: Medical malpractice 2013 legislation, 2014). As has been mentioned above, miscommunication and the lack of collaboration contribute greatly to the increase in medical errors and malpractice. This policy is efficient when it comes to malpractice prevention as there is more clarity in the scope of practice of different healthcare professionals.
On balance, it is possible to note that Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners share concerns with other nursing professionals. AGNPs work with one of the most vulnerable populations and malpractice often leads to considerable negative outcomes for all the stakeholders. Numerous policies have been introduced to prevent and address issues associated with malpractice. These measures are effective in treating different aspects of the problem. It is also clear that extensive education and training, as well as proper working conditions, can decrease the rate of malpractice in healthcare units.
Hamric, A.B., Hanson, C.M., Tracy, M.F., & O’Grady, E.T. (2014). Advanced practice nursing: An integrative approach. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Joel, L.A. (2013). Advanced practice nursing: Essentials of role development. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.
Mauk, K. (2010). Gerontological nursing: Competencies for care. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.