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Study finds disagreement on the role of primary care nurse practitioners
Date:5/17/2013

At a time when the U.S. health system is facing both an increasing demand for primary care services and a worsening shortage of primary care physicians, one broadly recommended strategy has been to increase the number and the responsibilities of nurse practitioners. In 2010 an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee recommended that "advance practice registered nurses should be able to practice to the full extent of their education and training" and that nurse practitioners should be able to admit patients to hospitals and hospices, lead medical teams and medical homes, and receive reimbursements similar to what physicians receive for providing the same services.

A study published in the May 16 New England Journal of Medicine finds, however, that while primary care physicians and nurse practitioners for the most part agreed with the first recommendation, they significantly disagreed about some proposed changes to the scope of nurse practitioners' responsibilities. Specific points of disagreement revealed in the survey led by investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Institute for Medicine and Public Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center include appropriate leadership roles for nurse practitioners, reimbursement levels and the overall quality of services they provide.

"We were surprised by the level of disagreement reported between these two groups of professionals," says Karen Donelan, ScD, EdM, of the Mongan Institute for Health Policy at MGH, lead author of the report. "We had hypothesized that, since primary care physicians and nurse practitioners had been working together for many years, that collaboration would lead to more common views about their roles in clinical practice. The data reveal disagreements about fund
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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