Improving Outpatient Antibiotic Use: The Role of Nurse Practitioners

When a child comes in with a sore throat, it is — of course, they’re miserable. They have a sore throat. They have a fever. And the parents would love for them to be able to get something that would make them feel better quickly. What is concerning is a lot of people think every sore throat is strep throat and they want antibiotics. But the reality is that most sore throats are not strep throat. It is important that we make sure that we don’t give antibiotics just for a viral sore throat. So what we need to focus on when it’s not strep throat is really comfort care. Making sure they’re giving something for the fever, giving something to make that sore throat feel better. If we continue to prescribe antibiotics inappropriately, we will have fewer antibiotic choices when kids really do need them. And we will get to a point where children are not responding to antibiotics. And that’s very scary to us.

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