NPs in a walk, suggests a small study by University of Michigan researchers* which was referenced by FierceHealthcare (Sara Jackson, Study: Patients prefer NPs over physicians, FierceHealthcare 6/28/11).
Patient satisfaction, a major indicator of quality healthcare, was higher among low-income primary care patients treated by nurse practitioners than among those treated by physicians, according to researchers at the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners 26th Annual NP meeting.
We feel the results are attention-worthy, with two important caveats:
The study was very small – the survey results reflect analysis of fewer than 200 patients’ responses;
The researcher’s assertion that “this is just more proof NPs can operate effectively independently without supervision by physicians” does not appear to coincide with the purposes of the study, and is not supported by the results.
We found it surprising – almost as noteworthy as the study itself – that this was the first time the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s well-known Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems patient satisfaction survey included NPs. What took them so long?
* Shoutout to Clinical Advisor, which on a brief scan looks to be a great resource for nurse practitioners