The nursing profession's coming of age: Not as successful as it looks

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7532.51-e (Published 05 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:51
  1. Trefor J Roscoe, general practitioner (Trefor{at}nhs.net)
  1. Sothall Medical Centre, Sheffield S20 5JX

    Editor—Young says that some practices are even nurse led—it is the nurses who employ the general practitioners, and patients are formally registered with the practice, not the doctor.1 What she neglects to point out is that one of these flagship nurse led practices has had to be taken over by the primary care trust, the nurses' contract being terminated. This was apparently because of the numerous patients' complaints about the service with which they were being provided.

    The fundamental difference between doctors and nurses is that doctors have a holistic view of all patho-physiology and at least a decade of training in diagnosis and diagnostic uncertainty. Nurse practitioners do not have the depth and breadth of training to manage all aspects of patients' care on their own. Pretending that nurses can be doctors is not helpful. Instead of spending 12 years learning to be a specialist in one area, perhaps Young would have better spent the time training to be a doctor and then a general practitioner, so as to be able to be a generalist with unlimited independent practice.


    • Competing interests TJR is a registered medical practitioner.


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