“Studies have shown no difference in outcomes when patients are treated by a nurse practitioner or a physician.”
This quote comes from Courtney H. Lyder, dean of the UCLA School of Nursing, reported in Heral Online. As the shortage of primary care physicians increases, the importance of having nurse-managed clinics becomes evident.
Nurse Practitioners are highly advanced nurses, with an average of 10+ years of clinical work as registered nurses, and an advanced academic degree (a Masters of a Doctoral degree), who have taken specialized courses in various nursing fields. Nurse Practitioners are able to prescribe prescribing or renewing prescriptions for most drugs, perform medical examinations of various types, order blood tests, and provide many of the tasks which are usually done by primary-care doctors.
While in California the important work of Nurse Practitioners seems to be widely recognized, in other states they cannot yet perform their work independently. In Texas, for example, they can only work under the supervision of a medical doctor.
“As we celebrate these vital healthcare providers during National Nurse Practitioner Week, November 11-17, it is also a great time to truly acknowledge their growing importance within the changing healthcare landscape,” said Lyder. “Removing outdated barriers and allowing nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their experience and education will serve the industry, the profession and most important the patient in the best possible manner.”