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Nurse Practitioner Evidence

Posted Nov 10 2011 8:43pm
The latest nurse practitioner study conducted at Loyola found that "...the nurse practitioner reduced ED visits by improving the continuity of care and troubleshooting problems for patients."

These are the type of studies that need to be done. I am sick of the studies pitting nurse practitioners against physicians. The "us" versus "them" mentality is old, tired, and doesn't even belong in today's argument. The time has come to move past this and figure out a way to make the most out of available resources while ensuring that each profession practices to the extent of their education, training, and scope. Do we really need another study to show that NP practice is just as good or better than physicians or do NPs make more referrals or would NPs order more tests to arrive at a diagnosis? Please, this rhetoric is insulting to the entire US health care system.

In my opinion, nurse practitioners are not interchangeable with physician practice. We are different yet have many overlapping qualities. I have heard the argument that NPs practice medicine. Again, there are overlapping qualities but we are not analogous. How could we be when we are educated in varying models and practice settings for different lengths of time? We all deserve to be caring for the right patient at the right time and in the right setting. There are critical care NPs that do things that I cannot and I may be able to better care for a primary care patient in my setting. 

As states realize that NPs can be part of the solution to the provider shortage and reduce practice barriers, I believe we will see increasing pressure concerning NP practice. NPs have a 40+ year history of providing culturally competent, evidence-based, cost-effective and high quality care. If someone wants to waste valuable resources researching this (again), then the turf battles will continue. However, my colleagues and I, as well as the many other stakeholders, would love to see more evidence proving how NPs increase the quality of care and reduce costs in this wasteful health care system of today.
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