Physicians and Us
I'm not a doctor basher. In fact I'm actually quite the
Over the course of my career I have worked with some great
docs. They have been encouraging, helpful and generally treated me as a peer. During
my education I had physician preceptors and early in my career I had physician
mentors. In my practice I have consulted with physicians when I found it
necessary and on more than one occasion I have had physicians consult with me.
When I have had a need to interact with specialists, hospitalists or other
physicians whom my patients were previously seeing (remember, I work in
corrections so almost all my patients are new to me) I have been treated with
the utmost respect.
So in light of my positive experiences I always am a bit taken aback when I see
some of the things that certain physicians are
saying about my profession. I'm referring to articles such as the one I
saw last week entitled "Only
doctors Can Save America
." Or discussions in which docs are posting to each
other and referring to NPs and PAs as "LELTs" - which is short for "less
educated, less trained." And who can help but notice the sudden interest in
"physician led team" care?
I get it, we are still in a recession and money is tight.
Reimbursement is down and everyone is getting a little nervous about the impact
of the new healthcare laws, but that is no excuse for this kind of behavior. For
one thing, it's beneath them. Like me, most patients also like doctors so I
can't believe any patient wants to read articles where their physician is acting
like a schoolyard bully. Patients also really like US, so when doctors (or
their organizations) go on record disparaging NPs and PAs it doesn't really
play well with the public. It just looks petty and greedy.
I have always discouraged the "us against them" mentality. I
don't like it when we do it either. It doesn't advance our profession. Let's
call a truce. We need to stop saying how much patients "like" us better and
physicians need to lay off the insults. Neither of our professions is going
anywhere and there are more than enough patients to go around. Negative
dialogue is unproductive and distracting.