“That’s the best thing,” said Helen Cayce, who borrowed the dialogue from a commercial to describe what she likes about working as a nurse practitioner.

Among other things, Cayce said she enjoys the contact with patients, the camaraderie among the group of professionals and the satisfaction of patient care, especially as it relates to preventative medicine.

“(We have) the ability to provide a wide range of patients (with) care,” she added.

Cayce and several other nurse practitioners were on hand Wednesday as Christian County Judge-Executive Steve Tribble shared a document proclaiming this week as National Nurse Practitioner Week.

The proclamation was signed by Tribble and Hopkinsville Mayor Wendell Lynch and included the seal of the city and county.

It was read in the courtroom of Christian County Fiscal Court by Tribble and Cayce.

The judge-executive said he had a recent opportunity to receive care from a nurse practitioner, and he had a great experience.

“They did a great job with me,” Tribble observed, adding that “what you do is wonderful, and you’re needed.”

“We’re so glad you’re here,” he continued of the impact of the nurse practitioners.

The judge noted that the Christian County government has actually been doing a proclamation for several years at the request of Jill York, the executive director of the Kentucky Association of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives.

That document has then been returned to York, but Cayce suggested doing something to recognize local practitioners, Tribble said.

In reading the proclamation, the judge noted that nurse practitioners serve as trusted frontline providers of healthcare for patients in the state, and he said they’re at the forefront of efforts to combat COVID-19, have been educating patients about prevention and ensuring the equitable distribution of the coronavirus vaccines.

The proclamation identified 325,000 licensed nurse practitioners in the U.S. and more than 5,400 in Kentucky who diagnose, manage and treat chronic and acute healthcare conditions.

Cayce said the role of nurse practitioners has evolved over the years. The practitioners address the health needs of everyone from birth to old age, she said, but they can also specialize in sub-practices that can include gastroenterology, aesthetics, primary care and surgery.

Additionally, Kentucky is one of 12 states where they can function as independent practitioners in private practice.

Cayce said she was one of the first nurse practitioners in Christian County, which at one time had fewer than five practitioners.

She is now in private practice.

Also attending Wednesday’s proclamation ceremony were Candice Perkins, a nurse practitioner with the hospitalist at Jennie Stuart Medical Center; Amy Wells, a practitioner with Enhance Aesthetics; Ellery Naghtin, an advanced practice registered nurse with Enhance Aesthetics; and Autumn Triplett, a nurse practitioner who also is in private practice.

Wells noted that practitioners work to give care across the life span of their patients, with an emphasis on — and a passion for — preventative care.

Naghtin said it was good to be acknowledged for the work that she and others do.

“It’s nice to get recognition for our profession,” she said.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

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