How independent are nurse practitioners and do you think there's a finite line between doctors, physician assistants and nurses?

Would like to hear your thoughts on this common question. Even a few of my pharm school peers bring up the same issue about the blurred lines between doctors and pharmacists.

Antonia Villarruel's avatar image.

The issue of independence of nurse practitioners is related to state regulations for practice. As you may know, practice laws in many states do not allow nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and others to practice to the full extent of their license and preparation. There are many similar functions that doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners perform – such as the evaluation, diagnosis, and management of patients. However, there are also clear cut distinctions in practice among professionals – a pharmacist is not capable of performing coronary artery bypass surgery. Importantly, there is a high need for primary care and chronic illness management across the country and allowing all professionals to practice to the full extent of their license is good for the health of the public.