NP: Physicians don't have a monopoly on concern over patient safety

LETTER — Posted Feb. 28, 2005

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Regarding "Nonphysicians eager to pick up the prescription pad" (Article, Feb. 7): Just like we have different political parties vying for leadership of this country (each of them knowing what's best), we have different health care practitioners with varying opinions and ideas of what good health care is to the citizens of the United States.

As physicians, you say that your No. 1 concern is patient safety. I think that this comes down to one thing, and it's not patient safety. It's a matter of economics.

I'm not trying to devalue physicians or medicine -- they have a place in health care, but not the only place And physicians are not the experts in every aspect of health care that they want the rest of us to think.

As a nonphysician provider and nurse practitioner with two bachelor's degrees, a master of science degree, years of documented professional health care training and education, and licensed by the state, I think I'm perfectly capable of providing independent patient care in a safe and professional manner.

I know when a patient situation might be beyond my scope of knowledge, and I subsequently refer to a specialist. Maybe you physicians should try that instead of thinking you know everything there is to know about health care.

You are using this matter to expound your opinion on the public, legislators and media to ignite a fear of fictional "crazy carpetbagger quacks" who don't know what they're doing and only have the almighty dollar on their minds. This is only your opinion, and it may backfire on you.

All professional health care providers are committed to the safety of their patients. Physicians alone do not have a lock on this, though they do seem to be the only ones claiming that their calling is higher than the rest of us.

David Kleberger, NP, Commerce City, Colo.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/02/28/edlt0228.htm.

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