Understanding the many roles of healthcare professionals can be confusing and the last thing we need is misinformation from journalists. Although she is entitled to have her own opinion about nurses and nurse practitioners, McCaughy’s 1/5/2015 New York Post piece is pretty dangerous since she’s in the public eye and is writing about things that she obviously doesn’t know about . (I’ll link to her article in a minute).
If you DO understand underlying problems we face in patient safety, then you know that blaming cultures are part of the problem and pitting doctors and consumers against Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) makes it worse! There are plenty of physicians who are collaborative and medical schools who are trying to build collaborative leadership into med school programs and support both! However there are some docs who want to perpetuate myths too, (more links in a minute). How sad. If you don’t understand the alarming scope of medical (and nursing) errors there was a very informative U.S. Senate hearing in July 2014.
It is pretty hard to tease out the truth when there are so many factors and so many agendas and since every healthcare professional is human, there are examples of mistakes. Yet making health care safe and affordable will be within our grasp only if we promote understanding of the educational process, expertise, and role of mid level practitioners like APRNs and consumers and healthcare professionals are collaborating, (including physicians, nurse practitioners, and nurses!). McCaughy’s piece interferes with both!
Physicians who don’t know how to be collaborative leaders or are threatened by APRNs are sadly counterproductive to any goal associated with safe, cost-effective care and McCaughy’s piece has so many mistakes in it, it is nauseating.
The truth is APRNs provide basic and in some cases specialized healthcare based on advanced degrees and experience. Just try to get into an advanced degree program and then complete it! I’d see an APRN for my healthcare in a heartbeat and would not hesitate to recommend one for my son or mother’s care!
Thankfully, the American Nurses Association (ANA), President, Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN is responding to the New York Post and this is an excerpt from her letter, “Registered nurses are both the largest group of health care professionals and consistently rated by the public as the most trusted. Further, policymakers are calling on nurses to assume a greater role in shaping a more patient-centric health care system and providing a greater range of services so that consumers benefit from the full range of their expertise. The future of patient care and the need to improve the nation’s health calls on all health care professionals to work as a team. We all deserve nothing less.”
Some related CV blogposts and link to McCaughy’s Opinion: