NY Times Blog: Doctor and Patient
The Gulf Between Doctors and Nurse Practitioners
By PAULINE CHEN, M.D.
Not long ago, I attended a meeting on the future of primary care. Most of the physicians in the room knew one another, so the discussion, while serious, remained relaxed.
Toward the end of the hour, one of the physicians who had been mostly silent cleared his throat and raised his hand to speak. The other physicians smiled in acknowledgment as their colleague stood up.
"Nurse practitioners," he said. "Maybe we need more nurse practitioners in primary care."
Smiles faded, faces froze and the room fell silent. An outraged doctor, the color in his face rising, stood to bellow at his impertinent colleague. Others joined the fray and side arguments erupted in the back of the room. A couple of people raised their hands to try to bring the meeting back to order, but it was too late.
The physician had mentioned the unmentionable. ...
Peter I. Buerhaus, senior author of the study and a professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, is chairman of a commission
created almost three years ago under the Affordable Care Act to address health care work force issues. But his group has yet to convene because a divided Congress has not approved White House requests for funding
"We're running out of time on these issues," Dr. Buerhaus said. "If the staffing differences remain unresolved, we are just going to cause harm to the public." ..