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Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Nurse practitioner clinic provides vital care to low-income patients

April 28, 2004 -- Today the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a very good article by Patricia Guthrie about local nurse practitioner Dorothy Gallaway and her Family Health Enterprise clinic, which has been serving low-income women and families for nearly 10 years.

The piece does an unusually good job, in a relatively limited space, of touching on some key features of nurse practitioner clinics. It explains that Ms. Gallaway's clinic, with two locations and a staff of four (including another nurse practitioner), provides an underserved community with vital primary care and preventative health services, such as mammograms, children's vaccinations, family planning, STD diagnosis, and treatment of high blood pressure and asthma. Although the clinic offers care as cheaply as possible, Gallaway notes that it is also 'seeing more insured patients because they like nurse practitioners.' The article explains that nurse practitioners receive 'advanced master's degree training' allowing them to 'diagnose and treat common diseases,' consulting with or referring to physicians when indicated. However, it also reports that NP's cannot prescribe medications in Georgia, the only state that has yet to 'grant this power to its thousands of nurse practitioners that often fill a vital gap in health services in poor, rural and minority communities.'

The story emphasizes the clinic's holistic approach. Gallaway, who has 'worked at several metro-area county public health departments and taught at Morehouse School of Medicine, Clark Atlanta and Georgia State University,' notes that she started the clinic because:

'I wanted to offer services 'my way' ... We take the time necessary to see the whole person. We ask about their family situation, work, stress. A person is not just an individual but a community that you have to take into consideration. I always ask them if they have other concerns, other questions.'

See Patricia Guthrie's article 'Nonprofit clinic reaches out to 'underserved community'' in the April 28, 2004 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Also see our FAQ: "Do physicians deliver better care than Advanced Practice Nurses?", which only adds to the confusion as to why Georgia has not yet granted nurse practitioners the right to prescribe.


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