Did you read it? – Nurses run the show at this Minneapolis clinic

Flickr | COD Newsroom
Image: Flickr | COD Newsroom

Nurses—some pretty big things are happening in your world.

In response to the limited availability of primary care physicians, the medical community is turning to the knowledge and experience of skilled nurses to ease the strain.

And we’re coming up on yet another milestone.

On April 6, the University of Minnesota School of Nursing will introduce a new nurse practitioner clinic, led by some of Minnesota’s most accredited nurses, to the Downtown East neighborhood. The goal? To increase access to primary care and reduce healthcare costs for lower-income residents in subsidized housing.

Check out what MPR News has to say about it:

For years, advanced practice registered nurses have served as primary care providers for many patients. Nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists and nurse anesthetists diagnose illnesses, provide treatment and prescribe medications.

So—what’s changed?

But they were required to have a written agreement with a physician to practice. That requirement would sometimes limit where and when they could work based on the availability, and willingness, of physicians to sign the agreements.

That changed on Jan. 1, when a new state law that allows advanced nurses to practice independently took effect. It allows them to break free from physician oversight after completing 2,080 hours of supervised work.

So, how will the clinic operate?

…two or three nurse practitioners will work in the clinic, where they will treat minor conditions like fevers and flu, and manage patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or heart failure.

The clinic already has an agreement to work closely with clients at Emanuel Housing, a 101-unit transitional housing facility for previously homeless people.

But there is some opposition:

“Doing things that fragment care rather than coordinate care is always worrisome to us,” said Dr. Dave Thorson, president-elect of the Minnesota Medical Association.

Thorson, a family physician in White Bear Lake, said nurses don’t have as much training as primary care physicians. He wonders if they will be able to recognize the limits of their knowledge when they’re working independently.


Interested in reading more about the clinic, as well as some of the expectations and speculations that surround it? Check out the full article here, and tell us what you think about the changing role of nurses in the comments section below!

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2 Responses to Did you read it? – Nurses run the show at this Minneapolis clinic

  1. Gia Daniel

    I find it ironic that physicians are complaining about the lack of diagnostic skills that appropriately educated APNs may have, when one takes into consideration that physicians in training learn at the sides and from the expertise of experienced registered nurses, CNMs, CRNAs, and others. Also, as physicians cannot be at the bedside twenty-four hours a day but may have admitted patients to hospitals and the nurses implement the orders, perform their own assessments and communicate pertinent findings to physicians and work collaboratively with them, nurses are showing that while the two roles are separate, there are skills and knowledge that each role brings that work together efficiently for the betterment of patients’ conditions.
    The physicians, for whatever reasons, are not available to provide care to these patients that the article refers to, and yet complain about those who demonstrate willingness and ability to provide care within a very clearly defined set of parameters. Methinks they doth protest too much and speak from manger ish attitudes rather than constructive criticism.

  2. jzj01@hotmail.com

    We have to decide what our roles are and work together with the patient’s well being being the most important consideration.