USA Today: Nursing Covering More Health Care

In the 12 March 2010 issue of USA Today, the article “Nursing Covering More Health Care” by Deborah Yetter and Jessie Halladay notes that:

As the debate over health care legislation continues in Washington, advocates for nurse practitioners say it is these primary care nurses who will make up for the shortage of primary care physicians and at the same time keep costs down.

However, the article also describes resistance from physicians:

Greg Cooper, a former Kentucky Medical Association president and family physician from Cynthiana, Ky., who testified against the Kentucky bill, said he objects to what he said “is this constant push by nurse practitioners to be physicians.”

“It’s a little bit frustrating, the way this has evolved,” he said. “The family physician is the foundation of health care.”

That argument has been echoed nationally by the American Medical Association, which issued a report last fall critical of the training that nurse practitioners receive.

Nonetheless, a riposte on the Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine notes that:

It is hard to say whether the primary care shortage is a result of the medical schools’ shortsightedness or the result of Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” theory.

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