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Are nurse practitioners the new family doctor?

Thinkstock | Hemera

The role of the nurse practitioner has been steadily growing for years; many now serve as primary care providers. This role is likely to expand even more over the next few years as NPs are required to hold doctorate degrees and the primary care physician shortage continues to grow.

A recent blog in The New York Times explored the current and future roles of NPs, and set off a great discussion about what those roles should and will be. At the center was the fact that primary care physicians are badly distributed in the U.S., and that NPs often take on a significant and needed role in rural and poor areas.

Many commenters, however, took a purely MD vs. NP stance. Doesn’t this miss the point?? What do you think? Do you agree that NPs will be extremely important in rural areas in the coming years? Does the difference in NP and MD training provide a significant difference in quality of care?

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