These simple words can really agitate some of us. In reality, what do these words mean? Not a physician? Is it someone below a physician? A “non-physician provider?”
This phrase creates an unnecessary hierarchy within our practice and inside our hospital systems. There are more nurses than physicians employed in our hospitals and we would never think of calling physicians “non-nurse providers.” So, why not the same respect?
Do we provide mid-level care?
Absolutely not! Fifty plus years of research argues we provide high quality care. Research demonstrates the care we provide is similar to that of our physician collaborators. We practice by the same standards of care as other providers. When the American Stroke Association comes out with new treatment guidelines, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) follow them just as Physicians follow them.
So why the term mid-level provider? Is it because we are “different?”
Well, we are different. We are not physicians. We are APRNs. We provide a different style of care. It is, by no means, a lower level of care. Are radiologists called mid-level radiologist when compared to interventional radiologists? I think not. They provide a “different” style of radiology. Are cardiologists called mid-level cardiac specialists when compared to interventional cardiologist or better yet, electrophysiologists?
Just because they practice differently, does not mean they provide a lower level of care. The same goes for APRNs. We practice differently. We provide high-quality healthcare to our patients. They expect nothing less from us. To be honest, talk to an APRN. We would expect nothing less from ourselves.
So the next time you hear someone use the phrase “mid-level provider,” please kindly mention to them you are a provider, plain and simple. If we start using the appropriate terminology, others will as well.