AANP: Call us 'Nurse Practitioners' not 'physician extenders'

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AANP: Call us 'Nurse Practitioners' not 'physician extenders'
AANP: Call us 'Nurse Practitioners' not 'physician extenders'

Las Vegas -- The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) continues to oppose the use of titles such as "midlevel provider" and "physician extender" as references to nurse practitioners (NPs), citing that the negative connotation of such terms undermines the legitimacy of the profession.

Federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services continue to use titles such as "midlevel provider" as aggregate terms for NPs.

"Terms such as these originated in bureaucracies and/or medical organizations and are not interchangeable with use of the NP title," the organization said in a statement released at the AANP 2013 National Conference. "[These names imply] that the care rendered by NPs is 'less than' some other higher standard.”

Physician extender, for example, implies that nurse practitioners are not independently licensed and only operate as an extension of physician care.

"AANP encourages employers, policy-makers, healthcare professionals and other parties to refer to NPs by their title," the organization said. Other titles that the AANP advised against include "non-physician providers," "allied health providers" and "limited license providers."

In addition to calling into question the qualifications of NPs, these terms may also confuse consumers seeking healthcare due to lack of specificity about the role of NPs. In previous years, the AANP suggested more favorable terminology such as "primary care practitioner" and "licensed independent practitioner."

Although NPs predominantly work in primary care, the AANP also stressed the importance of representing those who work in specialty- and acute-care going forward.

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