1. Letters to the Editor

Wednesday's letters: Allow nurse practitioners to fully use their skills

Published Jun. 13, 2017

Nurse practitioners

Allow nurses to give more care

Florida is one of only 11 states that restricts the ability of nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their education and licensure. Many people who are treated by a nurse practitioner are unaware that these health professionals are restricted and required to have supervision by an outside health authority. Allowing nurse practitioners to have full practice authority would facilitate patients having access to and receiving high-quality, cost-effective health care.

There is a shortage of primary care physicians nationwide, and in Florida the shortage is projected to increase to more than 3,500 in less than 10 years. Data show that in a primary care setting nurse practitioners give the same quality of care that physicians do. Giving full practice authority to nurse practitioners could help compensate for the shortage of primary care providers.

Full practice authority for nurse practitioners would be good for Florida's economy as well. It would create thousands of jobs for nurse practitioners and their support staff. Studies show that nurse practitioners provide care at up to 20 percent less cost, helping to counter the rising cost of health care.

The common objection to nurse practitioner full practice authority is that they do not have the same education as physicians. Nurse practitioners complete four years of undergraduate and two to four years of graduate school; physicians complete four years of undergraduate, four years of medical school and three years of residency. The amount of schooling imposed on physicians is mandated by their organizations; there is no supporting research requiring that level of education for primary care.

Florida needs to join the majority of other states that have granted nurse practitioners full practice authority. Legislation should be passed that allows nurse practitioners to practice independent of physicians. There needs to be a clear scope of practice outlined for nurse practitioners that is governed by the state board of nursing. These actions will give Floridians the opportunity to have greater access to affordable primary care.

Naomi Grasso, Tampa

We need more civility | June 10, letter

Go beyond the party line

I have a lot of respect for Connie Kone and the myriad ways she has served St. Petersburg. I was agreeing with her letter until her last paragraph: "The rest of us need to calm down and accept the election results."

Most of the people fighting the agenda of the Donald Trump administration do accept those results. We are having difficulty accepting the casual relationships that administration has with truth, ethics, budget discipline, respect, science, facts, and putting Americans truly first (in a non-sloganeering way).

Most of us want safety nets for the poor. We would like to see real improvements in health care — not tax cuts for the wealthy masquerading as improvements. We understand climate change and sustainable energy, and realize there is huge potential for job growth in those sectors.

We don't enjoy being called libtards and snowflakes, nor do we like it when only female members of Congress are publicly scolded. We are marching, speaking out, donating and volunteering and, yes, we will be voting.

I'm civil every time I call my elected officials. I've never punched a reporter, nor mocked a disabled person. I'm sad that a leader like Mrs. Kone fell prey to the knee-jerk party line.

JoEllen Schilke, St. Petersburg

Hillsborough will freeze school hiring to cut costs | June 9

Freeze will hurt students

The blanket freeze on hiring of teachers in Hillsborough County is a terrible idea. Last year's hiring freeze resulted in my daughter going the entire second quarter in Spanish with unqualified subs when her high school teacher quit at the end of the first quarter. Their work each day was doing a page from their workbook. The subs knew no Spanish and could not help them with the workbook.

The hiring freeze also puts students most in need at a serious disadvantage and places undue pressure and stress on exceptional student education teachers. Our school had multiple openings for ESE and the holes were filled with subs without any ESE training. While subs are a warm body in the classroom, they cannot do the ESE case management work, which means the remaining ESE teachers get more students added to their caseload. With the next hiring freeze, more ESE students will be taught by non-ESE qualified subs and an even greater load will be placed on the remaining ESE teachers, resulting in more highly qualified ESE teachers quitting and perpetuating this vicious cycle.

Peter Stecher, Brandon

Update from a paper that endorsed Trump June 9, commentary

Key role of newspapers

This editor says the fact that most newspapers in the states where Donald Trump won the popular vote did not endorse him shows "the gulf that exists between what is called the mainstream media and millions of Americans."

On the contrary, it shows that most newspapers follow what has been the purview of the free press for decades, to provide their readers with information and opinions garnered by their research and experience. It was imperative for these papers to advise against voting for Trump, the least qualified candidate in the history of our nation.

How sound that advice was is only now becoming evident.

Coralie Lang, Tampa

Money trumps climate | June 11, editorial

Act on the evidence

Congressional Republicans have left the field. York and California are now America's de facto leaders to combat climate change. Even though they are aggressively cutting their carbon dioxide emissions, welcoming immigrants and taxing themselves, they have robust, growing economies.

History will not be kind to today's congressional leaders unless they put Republican ideology aside and act on the evidence.

John G. Chase, Palm Harbor