“66 Percent of Doctors Recommend Careers as Nurse Practitioners Instead” – Did you read it?

iStock | LuminaStock
iStock | LuminaStock

Science 2.0 recently reported on a new study that found that 66 percent of doctors surveyed said that becoming a nurse practitioner is the way to go…even more so than being a doctor! Read excerpts from the article below to see why.

The article starts off with an explanation:

Despite high wages, there has been a shortage of primary care physicians in America, and the Affordable Care Act, coupled with an increased “teach to the protocol” environment in medical school, is going to make the shortage worse. 

With medical school costing so much, and increasing procedural limitations on how patients can be treated, doctors are starting to wonder how much of medicine actually requires a general practitioner. Becoming a general medical doctor may not be worth it, according to recent recommendations from doctors that qualified students pursue careers as nurse practitioners rather than as primary care physicians.

The survey:

In 2012, a survey was mailed to a national random sample of 1,914 physicians and nurse practitioners—957 each. Responses were received from 467 nurse practitioners and 505 physicians. The responses showed significant differences in how primary care physicians and nurse practitioners view the scope of practice and the overall quality of services provided by the two types of professionals. In a new paper, the authors discuss those responses and the perceptions regarding the supply of primary care clinicians in the U.S., their satisfaction with their current employment and their careers in general, and whether they would recommend that qualified high school or college students pursue careers as primary care physicians or as nurse practitioners. 

The outcome:

Spending taxpayer money convincing people to become doctors is not going to work when even doctors don’t recommend being doctors. Over 80 percent of both groups agreed that there is a national shortage of primary care physicians, but 66 percent of primary care physicians recommended careers as primary care nurse practitioners. Among nurse practitioners, 88 percent would recommend that students pursue being a nurse practitioner.

But why?

The twin cultural pincers of critics insisting they are incompetent or being paid off by drug companies and more government rules and a checklist of defensive medicine strategies and protocols, coupled with lower pay, make being a general practitioner a thankless job compared to the past. Nurse practitioners still get to help people, and they seem to be a lot happier than doctors.

Nurses, what do you think of this study? And what medical profession would YOU recommend for new students? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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