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Redbook magazine: "Don't let yourself be brushed off onto a Nurse Practitioner"

November 2002 -- In a Redbook magazine article entitled "Advice Docs Give Their Own Families," a physician author warns his family members: "Don't let yourself be brushed off onto a Nurse Practitioner." See the Center's letter to Redbook's Editor below.

November 25, 2002

Dear Editor-in-chief of Redbook, Ellen Kunes: (

I am writing in regard to your article "Advice Docs Give Their Own Families" in Redbook's November issue which maligned 71,000 American Nurse Practitioners by implying that their care was inferior to that of physicians.

Research has found that health care delivered by NP's is equal to or better than that of physicians. In a meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal, researchers found that patients were more satisfied with their care if it was delivered by a Nurse Practitioner (NP) than by a physician. Compared to physicians, NP's read X-rays equally well, identified more physical abnormalities, communicated better, gave patients more information and taught patients how to provide their own self-care better.

I suggest that as reparation to the nursing profession, your writers follow around some Nurse Practitioners for a day to learn about nursing science so that they may write about the nursing profession more accurately in the future. Certainly, the nursing shortage will never end with publications such as Redbook printing denigrating remarks and thoughtlessly smearing an entire class of dedicated health care professionals.

Yours sincerely,

Sandy Summers, MSN, MPH, RN
Executive Director, Center for Nursing Advocacy

Also see Jolynn Tumolo, “NP Spotlight: Redbook Article Raises the Ire of Nurse Practitioners” Advance for Nurses (October 21, 2002),; Janice Spillane's call to action "Stand Up and Speak Out" in Nursing Spectrum, and ANA president Barbara Blakeney's response to the article.