In the news: Physician shortage pushes expanded nurse role

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, March 1, 2010

As the primary care physician shortage continues to increase, the role of nurse practitioners is a constant discussion at the state level, reports Kaiser Health News.

Massachusetts' 2008 health insurance overhaul recognizes nurse practitioners as primary care providers. They are reimbursed at the same rate as physicians. Nurse practitioner training and licensing can vary by state, but most nurse practitioners must work under written protocols that designate a physician who can provide medical direction, according to Kaiser Health News.

As many states contemplate expanding the role of nurse practitioners, the American Medical Association (AMA) has questioned whether an expansion of nurse practitioners as primary care providers is the right move for safe patient care. The American Nurses Association has publicly disagreed with the AMA, and other supporters for expansion say that nurse practitioners are taught their limits. Many nursing groups say that nurse practitioners can provide care for chronic illness, and provide physical exams, diagnosis and treatment of common ailments, and prescribing drugs.

Source: Kaiser Health News

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