OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Nurses and doctors aren't the only ones stepping up to fight the coronavirus.
Nurse practitioners are now working side by side with doctors and other nurses to help fight the coronavirus. Source: (Sophia Thomas)
“We’re seeing all health care providers coming together really doing whatever we can to care for the patients," said nurse practitioner Sophia Thomas.
Governor Edwards' Proclamation 38 temporarily suspended collaborative practice agreements. This allows nurse practitioners and other qualified medical staff to assist physicians without the need for the agreements for the duration of the public health emergency.
Thomas along with her colleagues in New Orleans are now assisting in clinics, hospitals, and drive-through testing and in addition to the daily work at their practice.
"We can volunteer in areas where COVID-19 hits hard and really work on the frontlines more appropriately," she said.
Thomas is also the president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She is advocating for the permanent suspension of collaborative practice agreements so that way their help won't be contingent on the paperwork.
In addition, she said she hopes this can be the start of a holistic approach to tackling health disparities across the state.
"We’re going to have to look at the model and the way we do care here in Louisiana and figure out what works and what doesn’t,” she said.