The two professions' national societies see the issue differently. Some doctors' groups, including the American Medical Association and American Academy of Family Physicians, have said that nurse practitioners should be able to practice only under the supervision of a doctor.
But the trend seems to be going against those groups. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, bills have recently been introduced in 10 states to expand nurse practitioners' scope of practice.
Donelan said both sides need to "be at the table" in figuring out what primary care will look like in the future. "Achieving collaboration will take a lot of work, and it needs to be based on data rather than rhetoric," she said.
The University of Pennsylvania has information on nurse practitioners and health care reform.
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