NP student: "I just don't wanna waste brain space"

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Um, that's kinda important to know?

One of our readers told us recently, "the posts on your site just write themselves." They're definitely not wrong! For our fellow physician readers - do you remember how much you had to know about the menstrual cycle not just for medical school exams, but the USMLE? Everything from the nitty-gritty building blocks of pathophysiology including endocrine hormone pathways (GnRH, FSH, LH, etc.) all the way to more clinical aspects such as causes of dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, and abnormal uterine bleeding? The general approach to grasping the firehose of knowledge in medical school was always "it's always better to know it than not know it." Meanwhile, this NP student apparently can't even be bothered to know fundamental preclinical concepts like the phases of menstruation. This isn't even medical school-level knowledge - you could find this stuff in a college-level human biology class!

Maryville University Online Degree Brochure

With the above example in mind, we always find it funny when nurse practitioners and other midlevels attempt to claim that their knowledge and training is equivalent or superior (lol) to that of physicians. This cannot possibly be true - in addition to the gross discrepancy that exists between the 100%-online, 500-hour for-profit diploma mill education of an NP versus a board-eligible/board-certified physician who has completed four years of medical school followed by at least three more years of residency (and potentially even more years for fellowship), the certification and testing standards of NPs and MDs/DOs are wholly incomparable.

Medicine decries nurse doctorate exam being touted as equal to physician testing -
Nursing organizations are accused of not accurately portraying the exam.

From 2008-2012, in conjunction with the now-defunct American Board of Comprehensive Care, the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) offered a watered-down version of the venerable USMLE Step 3 exam to DNPs. Here were the pass rates for all the years it existed:

Year NP Pass MD/DO Pass
2008 49% 94%
2009 57% 93%
2010 45% 95%
2011 70% 96%
2012 33% 95%

Keep in mind, these were so-called doctorally-prepared nurse practitioners (from a decade ago, who probably didn't buy their degree from a 100%-online diploma mill) taking a simplified version of the Step 3 exam. For MDs (and DOs choosing to go the USMLE route), Step 3 exam is customarily taken later in the intern/PGY-1 year of residency, and is largely regarded as a cakewalk compared to Step 1. With the literal explosion in online DNP programs today (largely from for-profit diploma mils), what exactly does this say about the state of nurse practitioner education when their terminal degree holders can't even pass a watered-down version of what is arguably the easiest standardized board exam for physicians? Certainly nothing good. And to think that organizations such as the AANP have the gall to lobby for pay parity between NPs and physicians! No matter how hard hospitals and politicians try, there will be never be parity between physicians and midlevels, especially if the state of nurse practitioner education continues on its current crash course. As one particular pig in Animal Farm once said, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."