Nurses Doing Primary Care, Hospital-Acquired Infections, Questionable Celebrity Advice, and Tort Reform

With a looming shortage of primary care doctors, 28 states are considering expanding the authority of nurse practitioners. These nurses with advanced degrees want the right to practice without a doctor’s watchful eye and to prescribe narcotics. And if they hold a doctorate, they want to be called “Doctor.”

That’s the start of an MSNBC story called “Doc Deficit? Nurses Role May Grow in 28 States.” Much of the article is about nurse practitioners (NPs)–and the different ways they are (or are not) allowed to practice in different states, as well as the ongoing efforts of physician groups to limit their practice (even as the health care overhaul increases the demand for primary care physicians and invests in nurse-managed clinics). We’ve posted on scope of practice issues here more than once—what’s your take as nurses, or patients?

HAIs persist. Also today, as described from a number of perspectives in a collection of articles on Kaiser Health News, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report stating that the rate of hospital-acquired infections did not improve in 2009, despite ongoing attention to this issue in studies, IHI initiatives, nursing journals, and nearly everywhere else. What gives?

Does getting sick make you an expert? Elsewhere, at Covering Health (the blog of the Association of Health Care Journalists), Andrew Van Dam is critical of tennis star Martina Navratilova’s public advocacy for yearly mammograms for women over 40.

In February, Martina […]