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Not all nurses (or doctors) are equal

Reading Dr Phil Peverley's recent article about nurses left me perplexed.

Peverley: Sorry but a nurse won't do

Why would a supposedly intelligent professional person have such a major rant against a whole division of nursing colleagues – the nurse practitioners – based on an N=1 anecdote?

The story: a painter and decorator has a rash wrongly diagnosed as psoriasis by a nurse practitioner when it's obviously only a tinea. So, on that evidence he brands all nurse practitioners as idiots and untrained.

I can swap many bad nurse stories for similar bad doctor stories – and they are all to be deplored equally. Patients deserve more from us.

Now I am a nurse practitioner working in an enlightened and hard-working general practice. I am not replacing a GP, but complementing their care and responding to patient choice and access needs, by working in an effective team where all respect and value each other's skills and background.

Many trained and appropriately educated nurse practitioners are hard working, safe and effective – and we have the evidence to prove it. Where I agree with Dr Peverley is that too many nurse practitioners out there use the title without the appropriate training and qualifications – or, indeed, experience.

So by all means, let's attack the doctors or any employers who hire untrained nurse practitioners and pay them cheaply, don't bother to check their qualifications and think – wrongly – that they can do the work of highly trained nurses or indeed GPs.

Let us also attack the Nursing and Midwifery Council for failing to regulate the role of nurse practitioner and so failing to protect the public.

From Ghislaine Young, Advanced nurse practitioner, Shipley, West Yorkshire