Nurses With Doctorates Ease Shortage

Advanced degrees, 'hybrid practitioners' raise questions
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Apr 2, 2008 11:57 AM CDT
Nursing schools increasingly are offering doctorates in an effort to ease primary care shortages.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – As part of the effort to counter the worsening doctor shortage, some 200 American nursing schools plan to train "hybrid practitioners" with doctorates in nursing practice who can function as independent primary care givers. But even as the concept of the DNP catches on, some physicians and nurse practitioners are raising red flags about the “doctor-nurse” designation, reports the Wall Street Journal.

"Physicians' understanding of complex medical issues and clinical expertise is unequaled," says a doctor who argues that advanced-degree nurses need physician supervision. Nurse practitioners worry about being forced to go back to school, and other experts fret over the prospect that the higher-paying "hybrid" positions will lure primary-care nurses away from standard patient care.