Nurse Practitioner Showdown

Nurses have had success in advancing their professional role and image. What can pharmacists learn from their example?

“Nurse Practitioners Seek Right To Treat Patients on Their Own” was the headline of a recent Wall Street Journal article. The story began as follows: “Nurse practitioners in five states are fighting for the right to treat patients without oversight from doctors, as they can in many parts of the country.”

Supporters of this right suggest that because of the looming shortage of primary care practitioners and because of studies suggesting that nurse practitioners do this job very well, nurse practitioners need this freedom.

Without taking sides on their position—although I would be on the nurse practitioners' side—the question I want to raise is how and why has nursing been so successful in advancing its professional role and image?

What can pharmacy learn from nursing? One thing I think is that nurses seem to be more unified politically than pharmacy. What do you think we can learn from them?