Alyssa, who is a Family Nurse Practitioner, joined Community Hospital's medical staff and McCook Clinic in February. She sees patients at McCook Clinic and also staffs Community Hospital's emergency department.
She returned to her hometown roots as Alyssa was raised in McCook, graduating from McCook High School in 2002. Her parents are Susi Curl and Burke Curl. Alyssa has two brothers, Jake and Luke.
Alyssa graduated May 2011 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha with a Master of Science in nursing. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in 2006 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Kearney.
Before joining McCook Clinic, she worked at Select Specialty Hospital in Omaha in nursing as a nurse practitioner and a clinic manager. She was also a staff nurse in the cardiac Progressive Care Unit at the Nebraska Medical Center.
As a nurse practitioner, Alyssa serves as a primary health care provider seeing patients of all ages. Her scope of practice is very similar to a physician assistant and includes taking the patient's history, performing physical exams, ordering laboratory tests and procedures; diagnosing, treating, and managing diseases; prescribing medication; coordinating referrals; performing certain procedures and minor surgeries. Nurse practitioners have completed graduate-level education -- either a master's or doctoral degree -- and 500 hours of clinical training.
Experts are predicting an even greater need for NPs as the Affordable Care Act is implemented into practice. With the Affordable Care Act, many patients who were previously uninsured will enter the health care system and will require routine medical and preventive care.
Nearly two-thirds of Nebraska nurse practitioners work in hospitals (41.8 percent), physician's offices or health clinics (26.7 percent), ambulatory care (8.2 percent), or nursing education (7.8 percent).
"Nurse practitioners focus on patients' conditions, as well as the effects of illness on the lives of the patients and their families," said Nancy Waltman, Ph.D., professor and nurse practitioner with the UNMC College of Nursing Lincoln Division. The need for NPs in mental health is especially great, she said. Almost 40 percent of Nebraska's mental health professionals are over age 65. Many will retire within the next 10 years. Great demand for NPs also exists in the state's rural counties. Currently, 51 of Nebraska's 93 counties are officially designated as primary care health professional shortage areas.
She said physicians throughout Nebraska are expanding their practices with nurse practitioners. "The need for NPs in the state of Nebraska is expanding," Dr. Waltman said. "The number of physicians and nurse practitioners in Nebraska per capita is below the national average."
Creighton University and Clarkson College of Nursing in Omaha, and the UNMC College of Nursing, with sites in Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, Scottsbluff and Norfolk, offer educational programs for those wanting to become nurse practitioners.