Home / Articles / Columns / Second Thoughts / A nurse by any other name
Print this Article
Friday, April 5, 2013 07:14 pm

A nurse by any other name

I recently made a case ("Nurse, Nurse!") for the liberalization of the State of Illinois rules that restrict what nurse practitioners can do.

A lot of people don’t know exactly what a nurse practitioner is, thanks to the unfortunate title he or she bears. A nurse practitioner by any other name would be better described. The term “practitioner” in particular has unfortunate connotations -- MDs are in practice, while NPs practice.

The name belies the rigor of the training received by these not-quite-physicians. The would-be NP must earn national certification as a nurse in a specific field, earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree, which itself usually requires clinical training that field and at least two years of advanced study. As for what they do: A competent NP who encounters a medical condition beyond his or her expertise will refer the patient to an MD – not something that many MDs in general practice scruple to do.

A more in-depth treatment of the topic than I was able to provide in a column can found here.

Log in to use your Facebook account with

Login With Facebook Account

Recent Activity on IllinoisTimes


  • Fri
  • Sat
  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu
Get "IT" in your inbox
 Illinois Times was gratified by the number of entires that we received for the Visitors Guide Cover Art Contest. We would like to thank all of the 56 participants who submitted entries. Your eff...