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Career Coach

The Providers of ‘No'

Published March 6, 2014 8:36 AM by Renee Dahring
Ready for my rant?

Over the past year or two, I've noticed an increase in physician groups engaging in negative campaigning directed toward NPs. Could it have always been present but I just hadn't noticed? Or is the negativity a reaction to the numerous bills that have been introduced in several states to remove barriers and allow fully independent NP practice? The conspiracy theorist in me suspects the latter.

Whatever the reason, I am now aware. I have also detected some common themes that have emerged often enough that I have to believe they have to be carefully crafted "talking points."

They go something like this:

The horror story. A case that is so uncommon and rare will be presented to illustrate that even the most common of illnesses can't possibly be managed without the skill of an MD. "I just saw a patient in clinic last week who had an earache and it actually turned out to be an ancient medieval disease that hasn't been seen in a century! Thank goodness I saw them and not the NP!" The purpose of this is to scare the consumer into believing they are only one step away from a medical disaster at any given time and only a physician can save them.

Go team go! After decades, MDs have apparently just discovered the "team." Of course, by team they don't mean themselves, they just mean YOU. NPs need to be in teams that are led by physicians. "We cannot have patient-centered care unless physicians are part of the team!" Forgive me if I am a tad cynical when I hear this claim. I mean, what's been stopping them? They have essentially been running the healthcare show for years and until now haven't been very interested in true team care.

Do no harm. Organized medicine has cleverly repurposed this classic phrase and is now using it to defend the status quo. "Gosh, we wouldn't want to make any changes until we can be SURE that this will solve all our healthcare access problems and not fragment care any further." We are meant to believe that fragmentation of care really only occurs when patients are seen by NPs. Fragmentation is perfectly acceptable when docs own the urgent care clinics (and hire NPs and PAs to staff them).

Is it just me or are the organized medicine groups starting to sound like the "providers of no"?

"No problems with the current system"

"No need to change"

"No solutions"

It's a shame a few vocal physicians are sending such a negative message.



We must have been at the same hearing!

Twila, Pediatrics - NP May 20, 2014 10:29 PM
Minneapolis MN

I hear these comments from physicians where I work every day. I hear them tell other staff I am a "legal liability" and "NPs have no medical training."  ---the old "less medical training" thing again.  Needless to say this is an extremely stressful environment.  You are correct, some MDs don't think the "team approach" means them being a part of the team. These MDs think they still need to run the show.....a show that can be put on by other performers.

Susan Mathison-Young, Gero - DNP APRN March 13, 2014 7:49 AM
Brainerd MN

Renee: totally and completely excellent!!

Just great thinking. Agree completely.


Dave Mittman, PA,DFAAPA March 6, 2014 8:56 PM

Thoughtful rant.  Although, I see the same views/issues trickling down the ladder as well, from NP/PA to RN to RT.  We should ALL be working at the top of our licenses, not the lower half.

Craig, respiratory care - Manager, VUH March 6, 2014 9:47 AM
Nashville TN

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About this Blog

    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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