Recently I’ve been getting salty Twitter remarks about my ‘sympathetic views’ toward non-MD health care providers. These comments against advanced practitioners come from physicians working to take back the night and restore medicine to its rightful hierarchy.
One confronted me with the absurd question: Are you willing to turn all of your family’s care over to nurse practitioners?
Beyond the recognition of advanced practitioners as professionals is the demonization of the word provider. Referring to the collective body of professionals that deliver care, the term provider is used to describe the players in the modern clinical care space: physicians and advanced practitioners.
Some don’t like the term because it acknowledges that there are others beside physicians who provide. To be clear, I’m not fond of the term. But that has nothing to do with professional boundaries, fear, or advanced practitioners.
Here’s a reality that I live with every day: Some of what I used to do as a physician can now be done by machines. And some elements of my work are done as well by other kinds of health professionals. This is the result of a complex interplay of social and technological forces.
It’s not because we’ve failed to stand up to the establishment.
The fuss came from this post about why providers may be a fitting name for some physicians. It lays down the some truth about our future: If we’re not part of our own redefinition as doctors, others will redefine us. It’s a call to action that many want to ignore.
We can recognize and evolve with the change around us or we can work desperately to turn back the hands of time.
If you like this post you might dig into other posts about Physician identity or Advanced practitioners. These are the 33 charts Archives – collections of writing curated around the tags you find at the very bottom of every post. They are carefully chosen – check ’em out to find stuff you might be interested in.
Modified image originally from the National Library of Medicine