Most U.S. voters believe an expanded role for nurse practitioners will boost quality of health care

NEW YORK — Many U.S. voters are in favor of expanding the use of nurse practitioners for routine medical care, and most believe that the quality of health care would improve if routine care was handled by nurse practitioners and doctors were able to focus more on challenging healthcare issues, according to the findings of a recent survey.

According to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 1,000 adults, 67% of likely U.S. voters favored training and licensing nurse practitioners to expand the level of routine care they provide.

In addition, 77% of respondents said they would be at least somewhat comfortable visiting a trained and licensed nurse practitioner for routine medical care, with 45% saying they would be very comfortable.

The survey also found that more than half (52%) of respondents believed that the quality of health care would improve if routine medical care was handled by nurse practitioners and doctors were able to focus more on challenging healthcare issues. Nearly half (43%) of voters thought the cost of health care would decrease if nurse practitioners were trained and licensed to provide routine medical care.

The survey also revealed that those who earn more than $75,000 were slightly less confident than those who earn less that the quality of health care could improve with the use of more nurse practitioners, thus freeing up doctors for more challenging cases.

Democrats and voters not affiliated with either party were more confident than Republicans that quality would improve. Democrats also believed more strongly than Republicans and unaffiliateds that the greater use of nurse practitioners would decrease the cost of health care.

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