The Case for Nurses

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are highly qualified clinicians who provide cost-effective, accessible, patient-centered care and have the education to provide the range of services at the heart of the health care reform movement.

Many research studies have examined the quality of care provided by NPs and there is a solid body of evidence showing that when NPs are able to use all of their skills and expertise, their patients did as well as those seeing a primary care physician.

Furthermore, patients were often more satisfied with the care they received from the NP.

Full article on nurse practitioners here.

Comments (7)

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  1. Virginia says:

    Let’s hope that nurse practitioners become more common! It makes perfect sense to me, and I don’t see why a guy that spent 10 years going through various medical schools/residencies really needs to be present to diagnose my flu-like symptoms.

  2. Don Levit says:

    I was at a seminar at MD Anderson last week, and this point was raised about NPs replacing primary care physicians.
    I got the sense that most of the physicians there were specialists.
    The consensus seemed to be that primary care physicians can be replaced with nurses, and lose very little in the way of quality care.
    They even published studies verifying their premise.
    When it came to specialists, however, the question was raised “Who will replace them, prmary care doctors? I don’t think so!”
    Then, they showed how we need 30% more specialists now to provide the “demand,” particularly with so many new “insured.”
    And, I thought, “When it comes to demand, doesn’t that mean one has an ability to pay for the good or service?”
    Don Levit

  3. Linda Gorman says:

    If nurse practitioners can replace physicians then what is the point of medical school?

    And if a nurse practitioner education and a medical school education are interchangeable, they why do we need different types of licensing? In fact, do we need licensing? Inquiring minds want to know.

  4. Vicki says:

    Good point, Linda. I think the answer is that nurses can do many things well. But they are no sustitute for all that doctors do.

  5. politicaldoc says:

    I think it needs to be stated that NP’s now make as much money as many primary care doctors in private practice who don’t have the numerous benefits that comes with being an employed worker. Primary care doctors in Texas do not make the $150,000 to $200,000 per year that the AMA loves to quote. Some doctors have had to take out loans to meet payroll.

    Dr. Goodman, would you choose an NP to be your primary care provider?

  6. politicaldoc says:

    To Virginia: Nurse practitioners are minimally trained to make diagnoses, but trained to treat symptoms (I have had a NP tell me this) and that is fine for the run of the mill URI’s, etc.

    Ask physicians if they would trust a NP to care for their families. Even doctors who employ NP’s and PA’s would pay for the better care of a physician for themselves and their families.

    Obamacare eventually will limit everyone’s ability to choose the quality of care one wishes to pay for.

  7. Devon Herrick says:

    Lost is this debate is the argument that health care providers with different skills are needed to form a continuum of care. At least initially, most episodes of care begin with caring for ourselves with over-the-counter drugs. If we feel that self-care is not sufficient, we can stop by a MinuteClinic to see a NP. Or maybe we might even make an appointment to speak with a NP or PA employed by our primary care provider. If our problem is more severe, we might request an appointment with our physician. Depending upon our problem, the doctor might then refer us to a specialist.

    None of this is to suggest NPs could or should replace primary care doctors, but they have an important place in the continuum of care. Even if you don’t want to see an NP, the fact that other people have access to an NP means you will likely have an easier time getting an appointment with the provider you prefer.

    Many MD working in primary care bristle at the thought of NPs seeing patients similar to the way a physician sees patients. But it is clear that the vast majority of students entering medical school are not planning to pursue primary care as a career. If most doctors want to become specialists, then someone else will have to administer to patients’ basic care needs or make referrals.