Study Indicates Nurse Practitioners Doing Job Approximately Equal to Physicians in Many Cases Sep 5

By Sterling Medical Staff

A report called the “Quality of Nurse Practitioner Practice” (2010) calls Nurse Practitioner care “at least equivalent to physician care” (2).  The report summarizes research studies which compare nurse practitioners to medical doctors. The report is published by American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

The Congressional Budget Office published, in as early as 1979, research which “reviewed findings of the numerous studies of NP performance in a variety of settings and concluded that NPs performed as well as physicians with respect to patient outcomes, proper diagnosis, management of specified medical conditions, and frequency of patient satisfaction” (2).

In 2002 a “systematic review of 11 randomized clinical trials and 23 observational studies identified data on outcomes of patient satisfaction, health status, cost, and/or process of care”(5). It comments that patient satisfaction was at the greatest by those who saw the Nurse Practitioner. The obvious question of why are NPs have better patient satisfaction can be easily answered.

The review answers this question by stating that NPs “offered more advice/information, had more complete documentation, and had better communication skills than physicians” (5). The review also comments on the amount of time NPs spend with their respective patients. It states that “NPs spent longer time with their patients and performed a greater number of investigations than did physicians” (5).

A newly trending NP career option is the field of Correctional Health. In the field of Correctional Health, one can expect to see and treat many of the same conditions which are often treated in a primary care clinic. According to the CDC (3), the most often occurring infectious diseases found in Correctional Health are:

  • Infectious Disease
  • Hepatitis
  • MRSA
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Tuberculosis
  • Chronic Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stroke

A recent “meta-analysis” done in 2006 reveals that NP’s are more flexible. This analysis calls into question whether Nurse Practitioners can be substituted for doctors in the field of primary care. The article stated “The quality of care provided by nurses was as high as that of the physicians” (4).


  1. International Council of Nurses. “Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nurse: Definition and Characteristics”. Nursing Matters Fact Sheets. Retrieved 11 December 2011.