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

amental questions of professional roles that need to be resolved for teams to function effectively."

Adds Peter Buerhaus, RN, PhD, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies at Vanderbilt and a co-author of the paper, "It is unsettling that primary care physicians and nurse practitioners, who have been practicing together for several decades, seem so far apart in their perceptions of each other's contributions. I am concerned that these large gaps in perceptions will inhibit efforts to redesign care delivery and to improve the productivity and configuration of the primary care workforce." Additional co-authors of the paper are Catherine DesRoches, DrPh, Mathematica Policy Research, Cambridge, Mass.; and Robert Dittus MD, MPH, Veterans Administration Tennessee Valley Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center and Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health.

Although debates on the appropriate roles of health professionals are nothing new, the authors note, little data has been available on the roles played by nurse practitioners in primary care and how they differ from those of primary care physicians. The current study was designed to assess those roles and how expanding them might affect the health care system. The survey was mailed to a national random sample of nearly 2,000 primary care clinicians evenly divided between physicians and nurse practitioners and responses were received from 467 nurse practitioners and 505 physicians.

The majority of both groups 96 percent of nurse practitioners and 76 percent of physicians agreed with the IOM recommendation that nurse practitioners "be able to practice to the full extent of their education and training," and 76 percent of nurse practitioners reported they were doing so. Majorities also agreed that increasing the supply of primary care nurse practitioners would improve the timeliness of and access to care, and respondents working in collaborativ
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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