HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) is really looking for sustainable models of interprofessional collaborative practice in primary care settings—true team-based care—and my belief is nursing, as a profession, is well-suited to lead these teams.
In a primary care situation, the physician truly doesn’t have the time to do this coordination and to delegate. Their heart’s there, they’re capable, but there’s a shortage of primary care providers, and they’re just pulled so many ways. They just don’t have the time to add this on to all their other responsibilities.
RNs traditionally have been case managers. I specifically titled this a chronic care coordinator, not a case manager, because I’m trying to change everybody’s terminology and thoughts about that. What I view as the sustainability is [that] the RN won’t be suddenly lost in the cause of answering the phone or of triaging. We can do that and do that very well, but they shouldn’t be answering the phone. They should be doing so much more.