Follower of Jesus and NP working in the Sahara.
Advanced practice providers (APPs), such as nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and physicians assistants, have and can continue to bridge gaps by increasing access and quality of health care in cost effective ways especially in underserved communities in low and middle income countries (LMICs). Interviews with APPs and other healthcare professionals, personal experience living and working as an APP in LMICs, and literature reviews reveal similar results: utilizing APPs provides cost-effective health care access, improves morbidity and mortality outcomes, and enhances patient satisfaction without compromising the quality of care given in underserved areas. Challenges to APPs in LMICs include lack of access and standardization of higher education programs, role and title variability, physician resistance, limited research, and inconsistent legislation and licensing restrictions. When these challenges are overcome, APPs improve health care access in difficult to reach locations, exhibit adaptability and flexibility in challenging circumstances, and fill in the gaps of physician shortages particularly in primary care and rural locations. APPs are a vital, but underused role in health care. Enhancing APP training programs, defining roles and titles, educating health care providers and legislature writers, and promoting research in LMICs can improve the availability and implementation of APPs in LMIC and thus bridge gaps in global heath care. This presentation will provide personal perspectives from APPs who have worked around the World as well as present research that addresses advantages, challenges, and the necessity of APPs worldwide in bridging healthcare gaps.