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Doctor shortage: Who should fill it?

The U.S. health care system is struggling with a shortage of primary care physicians. CNNMoney.com asked readers -- especially those who are medical professionals -- to weigh in on who can help solve the problem. Here are some responses:

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Jaimee Givens
Jaimee Givens
Occupation: Family nurse practitioner
Hometown: Springfield, Mo.
"I do not feel as if I am `filling the gap' for anyone. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced education and the ability to assess, diagnose and treat patients from cradle to grave. We are not medical doctors, but we are very capable of providing quality care to patients. Most of us have been in nursing more years than the average age of a new physician just out of school."

"The majority of my patients come to me because they cannot get in to see their primary care physician, or they have no insurance and cannot afford the high costs associated with a new-patient visit to a family practice physician. My previous practice was in a rural health care clinic which has always been staffed with nurse practitioners because of the lack of physicians willing to work in the rural areas."

"The lack of primary care physicians certainly should not cripple the nation's health care system, since there are over 125,000 educated, qualified nurse practitioners ready, willing and able to continue providing quality health care to the people of our country."

NEXT: Petrina Dennis
Last updated August 03 2009: 9:29 AM ET
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