AP: “Doctor shortage? 28 states may expand nurses’ role”

Posted on 13 April 2010



Available online: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100413/ap_on_he_me/us_med_dr_nurse

It’s a nice discussion (for AP, anyway) of the controversy surrounding DNPs (Doctors of Nursing Practice) and their inevitable entry into the world of primary care. (Please do ignore the comments section, as people apparently love to demonstrate their ignorance of the topic with vitriolic, rambling, partisan outbursts.)

Even doubling the current enrollment in DNP programs, this will take a long time to make a dent–perhaps nearly as long as it would take if we were to increase allopathic enrollment tomorrow. Hospitals and systems (and states…) will simply have to find a way to do more work with less staff.

I had the chance to do quite a bit of research on this topic for several classes while in the MHA program at the U of Iowa. For more resources on the efficacy and effectiveness of DNPs in this role, see the following articles:



“Making Room for Dr. Nurse”


Laura Landro (April 2, 2008)


Although there are no precise statistics on the number of nurses with doctorates because the programs are relatively new, there are about 1,874 DNP students currently enrolled in programs nationwide, up from 862 students in 2006, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.



Primary care outcomes in patients treated by nurse practitioners or physicians: a randomized trial.

Mundinger et al. JAMA. 2000 Jan 5;283(1):59-68.


In an ambulatory care situation in which patients were randomly assigned to either nurse practitioners or physicians, and where nurse practitioners had the same authority, responsibilities, productivity and administrative requirements, and patient population as primary care physicians, patients’ outcomes were comparable.



The ABCs of the Doctor of Nursing Practice: Assessing Resources, Building a Culture of Clinical Scholarship, Curricular Models

Mundinger et al. J Prof Nursing. Vol 25, Issue 2. 69-74. March 2009.


The Council for the Advancement of Comprehensive Care has met since 2000 to build consensus on competency standards and a process for certifying these graduates. Deans of five nursing schools discuss their experiences and provide guidance for schools interested in developing DNP programs.


Contact me for more references on the topic.