Have Nurse Practitioners Reached a Tipping Point?: Interview of a Panel of NP Thought Leaders

Peter I. Buerhaus, PhD, RN, FAAN


Nurs Econ. 2010;28(5):346-349. 

In This Article

Patient Perceptions

Buerhaus: How do you think patients perceive nurse practitioners?

Esperat: With medically underserved populations, which are the bulk of our target populations, patients are very glad that someone is there, regardless of whether it is an NP or a doctor. In fact, some prefer to receive their primary care from an NP.

Barton: From my experience, once patients start seeing the NP, they view them as "their doctor" and they are just fine with that. I think the general connotation in society is that NPs and nurse-managed centers provided "what people can afford care," and this is the best they can get. I was really taken aback a few days ago by a comment from a donor who said that NPs are not perceived as providing care to paying clientele.

Pilon: In our nurse-midwifery-women's health centers, we have people who leave physicians to have their pregnancy and health needs met by a certified nurse midwife. Those coming to the center range from insured, uninsured, self-pay, and wealthy, but they all come to our centers because they want to be cared for by an APN.

Hanson: I agree. NPs working collaboratively with, or independent of physicians, quickly build their own base of patients. This is especially true with the elderly and with the parents of children. Patients are comfortable with NP care and referral for more complex problems.

Hansen-Turton: And, we see that patients are flocking to the retail clinics or to convenient care clinics.

Esperat: My guess is that community health care centers and retail clinics see about one-third of the population.