As a functional medicine nurse practitioner, I am committed to providing comprehensive and personalized care to my patients. Although I always promote a food-first approach, we now know that there are some nutrients we can benefit from taking long-term, such as omega-three fatty acids and magnesium (for many people). We also know that nutraceuticals can play a significant role in treating health concerns in the short term. The key to guiding our patients in the use of these products is quality and accessibility! Over the years, I have found that using Fullscript, an online supplement dispensary, greatly enhances the effectiveness and efficiency of my practice. Because I get many questions on this topic, I wanted to share why I choose and recommend Fullscript for my functional medicine practice and how it simplifies the process of obtaining quality supplements from various respected brands.
Convenience and Accessibility:
It's so easy to use! Fullscript offers a user-friendly online platform that streamlines the supplement dispensing process. This convenience is particularly valuable in functional medicine, where individualized treatment plans often include multiple supplements (at least in the short-term). With Fullscript, I can easily recommend supplements to my patients, who can then order them directly from the platform, eliminating the need for in-person visits to a physical store. This accessibility fosters patient compliance and adherence to their personalized treatment plans. They can even set up auto-ship features, which have been shown to greatly improve adherence and outcomes!
Extensive Range of Quality Supplements:
Fullscript hosts a vast array of supplements from a wide range of respected brands. This diversity allows me to select supplements that are tailored to my patients' unique needs and preferences. Whether I'm recommending vitamins, minerals, herbs, medical foods, or other dietary supplements, Fullscript provides a one-stop shop for all my supplement requirements. This simplifies the ordering process and saves time for both my patients and me.
Determining Supplement Quality:
Ensuring the quality of supplements is paramount in functional medicine. Here's how Fullscript helps maintain this standard:
Fullscript collaborates with well-known and reputable supplement brands. These brands are subjected to rigorous testing and quality control measures, providing healthcare practitioners and patients with confidence in the products they prescribe and consume.
Supplements available on Fullscript undergo third-party testing for purity, potency, and safety. This transparency ensures that the supplements meet the highest quality standards. As a practitioner, I can easily access certificates of analysis and other relevant product information to make informed recommendations to my patients.
Integration with EHR Systems:
Fullscript can seamlessly integrate with electronic health record (EHR) systems commonly used in healthcare practices. This integration ensures that I have easy access to patients' health records, allowing me to make well-informed supplement recommendations based on their medical history and needs. For me personally, I use Practice Better as my EHR (you can read why here), and I was SO EXCITED when Fullscript integrated with Practice Better a few years ago! I am able to add my Fullscirpt protocols (what I use most often for various indications) directly into my Practice Better EHR, and recommendations can be personalized and sent directly to my patients via the EHR without me having to leave their chart in Practice Better! It saves me so much time!
Have you seen their handouts? Fullscript provides valuable educational resources to both healthcare practitioners and patients. This includes product information, research articles, and dosing instructions. Educated patients are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans and make informed decisions about their health, and I know so many of my RN and NP students are always looking for ready-made patient education materials.
Be Wary of Aligning with One Brand or Seeking Big Profits as a Licensed Healthcare Practitioner!
Sadly, this needs to be said. You've probably heard me say this if you've listened to me talk about supplements much before, but I think it's important we as nurses keep this concept in the front of our minds! Be wary of any provider claiming to practice root cause medicine that sends every new patient out the door with an armload of long-term, expensive supplements, AND be wary of any provider that has aligned with only one brand. You might recognize them by the big shelves up in their lobbies.
I have inherited so many patients who are on tons of supplements they have been taking long-term (and clearly shouldn't have been)! They rarely know what they were intended to treat. They typically come to me on a single brand (providers practicing like this tend to align with one brand to order directly for the highest profits). As I work to tease through their health history and indications for each supplement, we often find that taking the supplements long term are as much a risk to their health as they could be a potential benefit! It is incredibly sad to have patients spending so much of their money that they could have used on self-care, a vacation, or healthier food options, and instead, they are lining someone else's pockets that they had trusted with their health.
As nurses, we are respected healthcare practitioners. We talk often about the fact that functional medicine has a branding problem. People will say it is all about expensive supplements and testing. This is 100% inaccurate, but providers that are not TRULY practicing root cause medicine and rather focused on profiting from supplement sales (replacing medication with supplements) are giving functional medicine a bad name. Dispelling this myth and separating ourselves from these types of providers can feel like an uphill battle when patients don't know the difference. That is why we need to be clear in what TRUE root cause medicine looks like, and we need to share this with our patients.
Nursing is the most trusted profession for a reason! So I wanted to speak to this topic and specifically acknowledge that our goal in offering access to quality supplements SHOULD NOT be to make big profits from supplements! What I have had happen in my own practice and want to avoid is patients looking for supplements on the shelves of big box stores and choosing something of such poor quality that it doesn't even benefit them. When I was a primary care NP, I would tell my patients to "start taking vitamin D" or similar, and I cringe now to think what they probably got from a local discount store that may have offered no benefit because of poor quality. We want an option that we feel confident offering patients that will also work well for our workflow/practice, and that's why I love Fullscript!
And that reminds me of another great feature. Providers using their platform can choose to discount the products for their patients, and this can be customized for each individual patient. At this time, that is up to 35% you can mark down the product and choose to make 0% profit. You might choose to use this for every patient you work with or maybe on a tiered plan based on the various services you offer to patients. Conversely, I do think that our time spent researching, recommending, and personalizing these recommendations has value, and that will have a different meaning for each of us in our practice. There is nothing wrong with getting paid for our valuable knowledge that we are sharing, so it's important as an RN or NP to determine what that looks like in YOUR practice.
What About Scope of Practice? Can an RN Recommend or Prescribe a Supplement?
Finally, I wanted to touch on a question I am asked almost every day. Can an RN recommend supplements within their scope of practice? And I want to start by saying scope varies by state and country, so every nurse needs to research any restrictions they have locally for themselves. But, I wanted to point out that all registered nurses and nurse practitioners are capable of being an educator to their patients.
I do not prescribe supplements. I mean I literally can write a prescription for vitamin D3 or magnesium citrate, and it will maybe be covered by insurance and dispensed from a pharmacy. Do I do this? No. Because I don't know the quality of the products being provided to my patients. You could say that I recommend supplements or an OTC medication to my patients sometimes. But 99% of the time I educate my patients on supplements and OTC medications. When you are using Fullscript in your practice, you literally hit the "Send Recommendation" button after you have chosen which products you think would work best for your patient. Many of my RN students feel uncomfortable with this button, namely because it says "recommendation." One way to be certain an RN remains completely within their scope of practice is to have a link to your Fullscript dispensary that you share with your patients or have on your website. When you educate your patients on the importance of sourcing quality supplements, you can then mention you have an online dispensary that has been customized to only include brands that you trust. With their education you have provided on how particular supplements may support their health journey, they can make an informed decision AND access a quality product without any prescribing or recommending taking place!
Fullscript simplifies the process of obtaining quality supplements from respected brands. Its convenience, extensive product range, and commitment to supplement quality make it an invaluable tool for nurses and nurse practitioners. By choosing Fullscript, I can confidently recommend supplements that align with my patients' individualized treatment plans, ultimately enhancing the quality of care they receive.