Private-Practice Nurses

Like many nurses, Lucille Kinlein, 51, considered hospital work restrictive. Frustrated by lack of authority, she felt that a nurse functioned as a mere tool of the physician. Unlike most nurses, she decided to do something about it. In May 1971, she rented an office in suburban College Park, Md., and hung out her shingle as one of the nation's first independent nurse-practitioners.

Nurse Kinlein's practice is more limited than a doctor's. Because she is not a physician, she will not diagnose major illnesses or prescribe medication; nor does she read X rays or set fractures. But she can still bring the...

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