Prescriptive patterns of nurse practitioners and physicians

J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2006 May;18(5):228-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2006.00120.x.


Purpose: To compare the prescriptive patterns of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physicians in a primary care setting for the treatment of sinusitis, bronchitis, musculoskeletal injury, and back pain.

Data sources: One hundred charts were reviewed for each condition for a total of 400 charts (200 of the charts were for NP providers, and 200 were for physician providers).

Conclusions: While the mean scores of the differences in prescriptive patterns were found to be statistically significant in only one instance, the overall findings indicate slight differences in the administration of medications for patients. Additionally, NPs prescribed more over-the-counter medications and provided more nonpharmacotherapeutic interventions for their patients than the physicians.

Implications for practice: The results, although statistically significant in only one category, indicate that NPs may be more cautious in their prescriptive interventions and provide more teaching for patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Back Pain / drug therapy
  • Bronchitis / drug therapy
  • Child
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Utilization Review
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Nursing
  • Musculoskeletal System / injuries
  • Nevada
  • Nurse Practitioners / organization & administration*
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physicians / organization & administration*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sinusitis / drug therapy