Magazine article Medical Economics

NPs: "There Are Plenty of Patients for All Providers"

Magazine article Medical Economics

NPs: "There Are Plenty of Patients for All Providers"

Article excerpt

These nurse practitioners see themselves and doctors as "interdependent," and stress that turf battles are counterproductive.

When nurse practitioner Carolyn Zaumeyer sold Women's Health Watch in Fort Lauderdale recently, she had over 4,000 female patients ranging from age 7 to 88. "I cared for business owners, waitresses, strippers, attorneys, and a doctor," says Zaumeyer, who is leaving her practice after seven years to run a company supplying blood products to pharmaceutical researchers. "The 7-year-old was on Medicaid, and the 88-year-old was a multimillionaire." Zaumeyer also marketed her practice to men who wanted confidential testing for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.

Patients came to Zaumeyer despite the fact that she didn't take call, admit to the hospital, or accept insurance. Why did they put up with the inconvenience and expense? Zaumeyer rattles off the reasons: "My patients wanted a female provider; no one ever waited more than 15 minutes; the office had a casual, friendly atmosphere; and I charged half a physician's fee for an initial visit." Some physicians, she says, sent her patients regularly.

Entrepreneurial to the core, Zaumeyer lectured to NPs nationwide on setting up independent practices, and her book on the subject is assigned at some universities. "One physician in town was upset that I was encouraging NPs to venture out on their own. Then her NP bought my book and started her own practice," Zaumeyer laughs. She scoffs at physicians who view NPs as rivals, however. "There are plenty of patients for all providers," she says.

NP Donna Torrisi prefers to say that she and physicians are interdependent. It's her view that patients "get the best health care when there are multiple disciplines available to them. Physicians have to realize that they are not the captain of the ship, and that they should consult with nurses more often. …

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