Are Doctors Really Better Than Nurses?

Confident DoctorsSimply put: the preponderance of empirical evidence indicates that, compared to physicians, NPs provide as good — if not better — quality of care. As I’ve written previously, patients are often more satisfied with NP care — and sometimes even prefer it.

The Institute of Medicine is unambiguously clear about this:

No studies suggest that APRNs [Advanced Practice Registered Nurse] are less able than physicians to deliver care that is safe, effective, and efficient or that care is better in states with more restrictive scope of practice regulations for APRNs.


Comments (16)

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  1. Matthew says:

    This is also an Op-ed piece from a doctor. I doubt that a doctor would write anything that would encourage people seeking health care to forego seeing a doctor for a NPs.

    • Walter Q. says:

      If this was an Op-ed from a NP, then I bet you see a valid argument that NP are a cost effective and efficient alternative to primary care.

    • James M. says:

      If they want more doctors in the primary care field, there needs to be some additional incentive to become one rather than specialize in a more lucrative field.

  2. Thomas says:

    “When I was doing my internship, 15 years ago, a fellow intern told me about a patient she had seen in the clinic whose voice was hoarse. She had no idea what was wrong with him, but her primary-care instructor, on a routine pass by, immediately diagnosed goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland.”

    Could a knowledgeable, well trained NP not come to this conclusion as well?

  3. Buddy says:

    I would choose to go to the person that is available. They are both well trained health care professionals. Its not like I want brain surgery, just an annual physical. I think an NP can do that just fine.

    • Jay says:

      The author seems to write as if an NP will take his job as a cardiologist. Which is not the case, we are just trying to find alternatives now that many more people have access to health care.

      • John R. Graham says:

        Exactly! If they were proposing to eliminate cardiologists and force people to go only to NPs, that would be a violation of freedom.

        This is giving people more choice and should not cause conflict but allow innovative practice reform that will increase quality at lower cost. States should really circumscribe their licensing laws in order to allow more practice innovation to occur.

  4. Perry says:

    Why bother going to med school then unless you’re going to specialize? Just have NPs do all primary care right?

  5. Alice says:

    Happy Nurses Week!

  6. Devon Herrick says:

    There is an infinite variety of circumstances that require a continuum of caregivers. I’m at the lowest rung of that ladder. Most of the care I receive is care I perform myself (i.e. self care with over the counter drugs). Above that level is a far more competent caregiver (my fiancé’) who makes me see the doctor or takes care of me or makes me take care of myself. Above that are nurse practitioners at MinuteClinics, primary care physicians, specialists and hospital care.

    It doesn’t really make any sense to argue that any of the avenues that I use to access care should be taken away. Arguments that suggest I am not competent to choose a caregiver with the appropriate skills (and they are not competent to refer me to higher skilled providers if needed) is little more than protectionism.

  7. Linda gorman says:

    No evidence can also mean that no one has looked at the proposition.