Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nurse Practitioners Week

November 11-17, 2012

OK I did not know there was such a thing until yesterday. Nevertheless, I guess everybody gets a day, week or month these days and thanks to Hallmark.

According to the AANP, there are approximately 155,000 nurse practitioners in the US. I would guess they work in more than 20 different specialties and areas in and out of hospitals and clinics.

Compare that to the roughly 850,000 active physicians, of which about 350,000 work in primary care. There are many different statistics from different sources about the numbers, but this seems to be the average. Anyway, for years they have been predicting an MD & DO shortage.

Nurse practitioners are not doctors or junior doctors; we are nurses with advanced degrees that can do some diagnosing and prescribing. A nurse practitioner will never have the book smarts of an MD and their medical school and residency training. However, in the wake of the aging population we should be able to work alongside and help with coming patient load that will tally in the millions.

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