Jan 20, 2010

Assessing Consumer Response to Changes in the Profession of Nursing

Key Findings:

  • Consumers’ responses related to the ability of Nurse Practitioners to practice independently varies widely.
  • Some consumers are comfortable getting primary care from independent Nurse Practitioners; almost all are comfortable getting routine medical care or treatment for minor health issues from Nurse Practitioners working within a physician practice.
  • Some consumers want their primary care provider to be a physician, period.
  • Many people know little or nothing about the education/training of nurse practitioners and how it compares to that of nurses, physician assistants and physicians and said that detailed information on nurse and Nurse Practitioner training would likely increase their comfort level with more substantial roles for both.
  • Consumers who have had positive experiences with nurses and Nurse Practitioner felt they spend more time, communicate more fully and show more concern for patients than physicians, and take care of basic health care needs effectively.
  • Nurses and Nurse Practitioners are viewed as motivated primarily by concern for patients, while physicians are seen as motivated by financial incentives as well as concern.
  • Some consumers believed that nurses and Nurse Practitioners had substantially less education than physicians and would therefore be unable to make accurate diagnoses of more complex cases.
  • Several worried that if Nurse Practitioners had their own practices and faced the same pressures as physicians, their advantages would gradually disappear and they would behave as many physicians do now (i.e. listen less, spend less time).