Yet Another Physician Speaks Out Against PAs, NPs

As the physician shortage worsens, there is no shortage of physicians speaking out against the idea of PAs and NPs being comparable substitutes.

A physician-penned op-ed published online this week entitled “NPs/PAs ‘Just as Effective’ as Physicians? I Don’t Think So” casts a negative spotlight on PAs and NPs, yet again.

The piece, which was written by Starla Fitch, MD, an ophthalmologist, speaker, and personal coach, brings up the oft talked about physician shortage and all but ridicules the idea of advanced practitioners as a comparable substitute, with Fitch stating in the piece, “With all due respect to our healthcare team, I beg to differ that going through four years of college and completing an additional two years – sometimes online, no less – can truly be “just as effective.””

Fitch takes issue with calling PAs and NPs equal to physicians, but admits support is needed by other members of the healthcare team.

“I’m not arguing against having the support of other healthcare members. Trust me. The shortage is real. And we need to find solutions,” Fitch writes, continuing on to say, “But please don’t say, we are “just as effective.” I realize that there are many duties that nurse practitioners and physician assistants can do with skill and authority. And the reasons why primary care physicians are declining is multifactorial, for sure. As I see it, though, putting physicians and our skill side-by-side, on equal footing, with those who are not physicians only serves to drive a deeper wedge between the healthcare folks who need, at this crucial time, to come together.”

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

1 thought on “Yet Another Physician Speaks Out Against PAs, NPs”

  1. Does an eye doctor really know the needs of the primary care realm? Does an eye doctor really want to do a side by side comparison of her “eye doctoring” skills to a PA with 24 years of Pulmonary/Critical Care/Internal Medicine experience? Unlikely and gladly so. While I would not want to see a first year opthalmologist for a potentially life blinding event, conversely I can guarantee, that my skill level in the ICU rivals that of most FP docs, and many IM as well as PCCM docs. Not tooting my own horn, this has been told to me multiple times by my attendings. So let’s quit downplaying the amazing work that NPs and PAs do and the gap they are thankfully filling where MDs are failing to fill, and let’s start working together and do what we were meant to do…heal!

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