Nurse practitioners fill primary care void

Highlighting the growing role of nurses, Ohio State Total Health & Wellness at University Hospital East will be entirely run by nurse practitioners, the university announced Thursday. The health clinic aims to provide primary care services, including routine health screenings, immunizations, basic gynecological care and depression screenings--all conducted by nurse practitioners.

Nurse practitioner jobs are expected to grow 94 percent from 128,000 in 2008 to 244,000 in 2025, according to a study published in the July issue of Medical Care. Last week, a Gallup survey found that registered nurses remain the most trusted profession for 13 out of 14 years.

Bernadette Melnyk, dean of the College of Nursing and chief wellness officer at Ohio State, said nonphysician providers are poised to fill a gap of primary care providers. "I predict that in the not-too-distant future, a substantial portion of primary care will be provided by nurse practitioners and physician assistants." Statement