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Nurse Practitioners: A (Not So) New Role in Health Care. Kathleen Dracup , RN, FNP, DNSc Dean and Professor School of Nursing University of California, San Francisco. Who are Advanced Practice Nurses?. Masters prepared Registered Nurses: Nurse practitioners (NP)

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nurse practitioners a not so new role in health care

Nurse Practitioners:A (Not So) New Role in Health Care

Kathleen Dracup, RN, FNP, DNScDean and ProfessorSchool of NursingUniversity of California, San Francisco

who are advanced practice nurses
Who are Advanced Practice Nurses?
  • Masters prepared Registered Nurses:
    • Nurse practitioners (NP)
    • Clinical nurse specialists (CNS)
    • Combined (NP/CNS)
    • Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM)
    • Certified Nurse Anesthetists (CNA)
rns prepared for apn
RNs prepared for APN

DHHS, March 2000

history of the nurse practitioner
History of the Nurse Practitioner
  • Social phenomena of the 1960’s provided impetus for NP movement
    • Shortages of pediatricians and family practice MDs
    • Lack of primary health care for rural areas and urban poor
    • Escalating health care costs
    • RNs desire to attain autonomy
  • 1st NP program – 1965 @ U of CO as a research program
  • HEW proposed definition of primary care:
    • A person’s first contact in any given episode of illness with the health care system that leads to a decision of what must be done to help resolve the problem
    • Responsibility for the continuum of care (maintenance, evaluation, management)
    • MDs & RNs should share responsibility for primary care
nps today
NPs today
  • NPs practice independently (i.e., without MD supervision or collaboration) in the majority of states
  • In all states, NPs have independent prescribing authority
  • Reimbursement for primary care services:
    • Medicaid/MediCal/MediCare Part B
    • Commercial insurance
  • Hospital admitting privileges
  • 103,000 NPs in U.S.
  • 9,500 NPs in California
  • Graduates of UCSF NP programs from 1989-1999 = 1,000
is a pa like an np

“Physician extender”

Must practice under supervision and license of MD

MD is liable for acts of PA under their direction


Complements MD

Functions under own license

Education is more extensive

Scope of practice is broader

Is a PA like an NP?
viva la difference
Viva la difference!?



Medical vs. Nursing Model

Scope of practice


B.S. (pre-med)

Medical School (4 yrs)

Internship (1yr)

Residency (varies)

Nurse Practitioner

B.S. (Nursing/RN)

Masters Degree (2-3 yrs)

didactic/clinical (internship)

other specialty training (varies)


medical Board exam

specialty exams


nursing Board exam

NP exam/certification

model of care

“medical model”



“nursing model”


Model of Care
scope of practice
NP – Nurse Practice Act

Primary health promotion

Disease prevention

Assessment/diagnosis and management of common illness and chronic stable conditions

Use of ‘standardized procedures’

Expanded roles for specialty care

Scope of Practice
  • “NPs may order, conduct, and interpret appropriate diagnostic and laboratory tests and prescribe pharmacologic agents, treatments, and non-pharmacologic therapies. Educating and counseling individuals and their families regarding healthy lifestyle behaviors are key components of NP care”

Porcher, F. K. (1996). Advanced practice nursing (179- 187)

patient education and counseling
Patient education and counseling

Moody et al, NP, 1999, 24(3):94-103

comparison of top five np md principal diagnoses


Normal pregnancy

Acute upper respiratory infection

Otitis media

Health exam


Health exam


Routine child health

Otitis media

Acute upper respiratory infection

Comparison of top fiveNP & MD principal diagnoses

Moody et al, NP, 1999, 24(3):94-103

common diagnostic or screening tests
Common diagnostic or screening tests

Moody et al, NP, 1999, 24(3):94-103

what counts patient outcomes
What counts: Patient outcomes
  • NPs can effectively treat 90% of all pediatric patients and 80% of all adult patients. Outcomes are equal to or better than care by physicians.
          • (Office of Technology Assessment, 1987)
what counts patient outcomes19
What counts: Patient outcomes
  • NYC 2000 patients randomized to MD or NP serving as primary care provider
    • Little or no difference in health status, disease specific physiologic measures, patient satisfaction, resource utilization (Mundinger et al, JAMA, 2000)
more outcomes
More outcomes
  • Meta-analysis of 38 studies comparing NP/CNM and MD (Brown & Grimes, ANA, 1993)
    • Number and cost of drugs similar between MD and APN
    • More lab tests ordered by APN but cost 8% less
    • Patient knowledge similar
    • APNs received higher scores on
      • Resolution of pathologic conditions
      • Patient satisfaction
      • Functional status
      • Patient compliance
    • Average number of visits similar but fewer hospitalizations for patients seen by APNs
cost benefit
  • Reduced educational opportunities for residents
  • Reduced interaction of physician with patient/family
  • Reduced hospital length of stay
  • Fewer complications
  • Improved patient satisfaction
  • Less litigation
patients active involvement in care n 27 patients with heart failure
Patients’ Active Involvement in Care (n = 27 patients with heart failure)

At the most recent physician visit,

5 asked doctor about other medications they could take for heart failure

3 brought written information to the visit

2 wrote questions on paper and took to the visit

How Active Would You Like to be in Making Decisions with Your Doctor about Your Health Care

How Active Are YouIn Making Decisions with Your Doctor about Your Health Care

Bennett, ‘PUMP-UP’

patients and their healthcare provider24
Patients and their healthcare provider
  • More patient control
  • More emotional display by both MD and patient
  • More effective information gathering by patients
  • More conversation by patients relative to the MD

= better health status (functional & subjective) at follow-up

Kaplan, Greenfield, Ware. Med Care 1989

make the most of your visit
Make the most of your visit
  • Be prepared!
    • Bring list of medications, treatments, concerns, questions; know your family history
  • Don’t be afraid to talk. The more you ask, the better your health.
  • If you are nervous, say so.
  • Don’t feel rushed. If you have a question, ASK IT. If you don’t understand something, ASK.
  • Participate in decisions, especially major ones. Negotiate decisions if need be.