Wednesday, April 2, 2008

"Dr. Nurse"

Today's Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports on nursing schools awarding Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees to already advanced practice nurses & nurse practitioners.

This is certainly a hot topic within the nurse practitioner ranks and has stimulated discussions of the pros and cons. Of course, the article is not without the obligatory unsubstantiated and biased medical community comment:

"Also, since these nurses with a doctorate can use “Dr.” some physicians worry that patients could become confused. “Nurses with an advanced degree are not the same as doctors who have been to medical school,” says Roger Moore, incoming president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists."

Some within the medical community seem to think that this is nurses attempt to "fool" patients into thinking we are actually physicians. If the vast majority of us wanted to go to medical school, we would have. We are proud of the fact that we are nurses first and bring a "whole-person" centered approach to patient care rather than only disease-centered care.

Next you will see the barrage of comments that follow on the WSJ Health Blog from all sorts chiming in why they think this is bad for healthcare - then the nurse practitioner bashing will begin. Physicians will cry about low reimbursement rates and if primary care physicians were adequately paid, there wouldn't be a primary care physician shortage. Heck, I'm sure you'll even see retail clinics brought up as they inevitably are. It is a sadly predictable argument.

Nurse practitioners are willing and able to help ease the primary care physician shortage. Rather than work with us to help ease this crisis, some choose to sling mud and maintain the status quo in a severely broken system.

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