Monday, April 11, 2005

Many Patients Prefer Nurses to Doctors

Many Patients Prefer Nurses to Doctors: "Many Patients Prefer Nurses to Doctors

By Daniel DeNoon
WebMD Feature Reviewed By Gary Vogin, MD

April 4, 2002 -- If you see a nurse practitioner instead of a doctor, will you get proper care? Yes, a British study says -- and odds are you'll like it better.

Since the days of Florence Nightingale, there's been a debate over what a nurse should be. Trained nurse practitioners offer primary care. And that care appears to be just as good as what doctors can provide, according to an article in the April 6 issue of the British Medical Journal.

University of Bristol researchers reviewed all published studies comparing the primary care offered by nurse practitioners to that of doctors. The findings are remarkably consistent. Nurses spent more time with patients. Nurses conducted more tests. Patients did no better or worse when they saw a nurse instead of a doctor -- but they were more satisfied with their care.

'For those kinds of patients in the study -- those wishing same-day medical care -- nurse practitioners provide a very good standard of care,' study leader Chris Salisbury, MD, tells WebMD. 'I wouldn't want people to read too much into that and think they can completely replace doctors with nurses. Complicated psychological problems, longstanding illnesses, multiple drug treatments -- there are many things that require a doctor's training.'

Jan Towers, PhD, isn't surprised by the findings. A certified nurse practitioner and director of health policy for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Towers notes that certification as a nurse practitioner requires six years of medical training.

'Nurses are taught to take good, complete patient histories,' Towers tells WebMD. 'Eighty-five percent of any diagnosis is getting a good history. Nurses are taught to do that comprehensively. And as for patients liking nurses better -- well, we do a lot of patient education and spend a lot of time ex"


  1. What a great study!! I first saw a nurse practitioner at my old OB/GYN's office... when this doc married and sold her practice to another doc, this nurse practioner left and went to another office. I loved her so much I followed her. I never even saw or met the physician whose office I followed her to for the first 2 or 3 years I was a patient there. That is how wonderful I think she is! I started seeing the doc when I was going through an infertility work-up, which led to surgery to remove fibroids and 3 weeks after surgery PREGNANCY (YEAH!!!) So obviously I saw him lots through the pregnancy and love him. But I will be returning to her for my annual visits again. As much as I love the doc she works for, she definitely spends more time in a visit.

  2. I'm really glad that you have such a great relationship to your practitioner!
    Unfortunately, there is pressure for the NP's to hurry up their visits to make more money for the practices. Only when we start becoming independent practices will we be able to have more control. I will always have a physcian for collaboration, but I hope to open my own office someday. I'm really glad you were able to become pregnant! Congrats!!