When we talk about the other clinicians, it is a problem, and patients should never be confused in the clinical setting about the qualifications of the people caring for them. It’s not offensive to say that it’s an undeniable truth that physicians, by the duration and intensity of their training, are the most highly educated and trained clinicians in the health care system. That’s just a reality. In terms of years spent in study and hours spent during those years in study and experience, we are the most highly trained. Patients should not have someone else come into their room or be at their bedside and hold themselves out in a way that is confusing to them, that a clinician who might otherwise be a very intelligent and capable person is somehow a doctor in the parlance that patients understand to be an MD or DO as a medical doctor. We have had a campaign in place for a number of years called Truth in Advertising and have enacted laws in various states to require that every clinician providing bedside patient care is required to wear a visible photo identification badge that displays their credentials and that, in all advertisements, they have to clearly display their proper credentials. They can’t have false or misleading representation that they are physicians in the context that you or I understand it as an MD or DO. That would confuse patients. There are 19 states that have enacted legislation consistent with the AMA’s Truth in Advertising campaign. There’s a long way to go, but that’s not bad so far for a six-year process.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 34 – No 09 – September 2015
Because the application didn’t ask for a date of birth, they just signed me up. By the end of my four years, they had already made me secretary of the chapter before I was even 18 and technically allowed to be a member of the Toastmasters. Due to an illness, the district president invited me to step in as the district secretary in northeastern Ohio. By doing that, I went every other week and associated with people multiple decades older than me who did public speaking on a regular basis.”
So what is their role? You and I work with PAs, PharmDs [doctors of pharmacy], advanced practice nurses, and others. It’s not that we don’t have respect for our colleagues and do not work well with them, but their professional societies’ push for enhanced autonomy flies in the face of everything in the modern era that supports team-based care. It’s all well and good to say that they’re part of a team, but some are pushing to go out and hold themselves as independent, and that is inconsistent with all of the current thinking about the value of team-based care, of which physicians are a part and from whose participation all of them benefit. We are not supportive of progressively more expanded autonomy because we feel this would expose patients to risks if not done in a very thoughtful and careful way.