Sunday, October 18, 2015

I'm a Doctor, Jim, not a Provider

Do you go to a Doctor, a Physician, or a Health Care Provider?  If you see a Nurse Practitioner, is it an NP or a HCP?  Do you automatically call the person examining you "doctor" no matter what the degree or position?  It may seem trivial, but there are strong feelings about terminology, and this article looks at many reactions to the question

It’s always nice when someone else validates a view I have had for so long.  I totally agree that calling a physician a “provider” is just one more example of the dumbing down of language and blurring the lines between those caring for a patient.  In the effort to appease, English now has constructs such as “chairwoman,” which has no linguistic validity, and now “provider” for anyone involved in health care.  Thirty years ago I struck this term from documents and replaced it with “physician.”  I have asked those using the term just what I was providing?  If it was information and health education, then the word derived from the Greek word for teaching would be appropriate, and that word is “doctor.”  I wholeheartedly agree with the author’s position, and encourage my fellow physicians to throw the word “provider” back in the face of those promulgating it. Let physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and others be identified for their unique positions, skill sets, and range of practice.  We should be celebrating our educations and achievements, providing distinction and distinguishment to ourselves and our practices.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you, Dr. Leavey (Marc). Of course, everyone who is a doctor (e.g., MD or PhD or ScD) should be called doctor unless they have given permission to call them by their first name. Now If a doctor calles me by my first name, I reserve the right to call them by their first name, especially given my now advanced age (lol).

    The question is what to call a non-doctor such as a nurse practioner, physician's assistant or clinical social worker. Most prefer to be called by their first name, and that is what I do. However, many younger practioners of this type call me Mr. Cohen, and I like that as a sign of respect, especially given the age difference.