Trend: Mo. nurses create rural clinics

Out in the hinterlands of rural Missouri, doctors are scarce. Increasingly, the state's advanced practice nurses are jumping into the gap, creating rural clinics of the sort typically run by country doctors. All evidence suggests the clinics are very busy, too. When one nurse, Laurie Beach, opened up a clinic in remote Pilot Grove, she attracted 9,000 patients within two years, far more than she needed to make money on her venture.

While the volume of nurse-run Missouri clinics appearing isn't exactly a tidal wave--in fact, one expert projects the number of clinics is roughly a dozen--it is a significant development. For one thing, it suggests there may be remedies for doctor shortages which don't rely on physicians. It also suggests that the retail clinic model, which puts nurses in charge of primary care, may be more credible to patients than some critics think.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this article from The Associated Press

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