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Family Physicians Rap 'Stopgap' Use of Nurse Practitioners

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 24, 2012

Goertz says physicians are also concerned that the public could be "easily confused" if caregivers aren't transparent about their roles and scope of practice. "If you ask a patient when they went in for care and they saw someone with a white coat, the vast majority of the time they're going to think it was a physician that provided the care," he says.

"You have to be clear about who is providing care and what the training is that has substantiated that ability to provide that care. Our organization has nothing against creativity and entrepreneurism in the delivery model but we believe you have to be careful when changing abilities and skills and knowledge without understanding that there is a huge difference between the training models."

Goertz says the intent of the report is not to restart the long-running scope-of-practice debate with nurses' associations but he also acknowledged that the report would do exactly that.

"What tends to happen is it becomes you are warring with the nurses again,'" he says. "That is not the point of the report. The point is we have a better model that uses everybody appropriately and the proof is in the model."

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2 comments on "Family Physicians Rap 'Stopgap' Use of Nurse Practitioners"


Dee Swanson DNP FNP (9/25/2012 at 12:55 PM)
There is no data or research that documents the need for the length of time that a physician must study before becoming competent to provide primary care. The is more than ample data that supports the safety and competence of NPs as providers of primary care. This is about power, control, turf and money as it always is with physicians.

Dr Reg Broekmann (9/25/2012 at 3:21 AM)
In South Africa we are piloting a new PHC system in which PHC nurses are connected to a designated Family Health Practitioner via a sophisticated communication system. Clinical discussions result in learning and improvement on PHC nurse competence and referrals are authorised by the Family Health Practitioner. The FHP then can monitor the progress of each referral and will give feedback to the PHC Nurse on the final diagnosis and treatment - another learning experience.