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Nurse Practitioners, Respect

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Respect…Aretha Franklin sang about it, Rodney Dangerfield could never get it and Birdman demanded to put some on his name (Respek in his case).  Nurse Practitioners as a profession seem always be reaching for it.

If you spend any amount of time scrolling through social media posts, specifically groups that cater to Medical students, RNs, Doctors, PAs or even NPs, you will see at least one post bashing our profession (thankfully, the majority of our colleagues do not share these views). The comments will range from disingenous statements from outright harassment. Nurse practitioners are marked for criticism.

We are the kids on the playground bullies like to push in the mud.  We were given the “participant” ribbon.  In the senior yearbook, we were voted most likely to end up on the Maury Povich show. We are the single, 30 year old banished to the kid’s table at family functions. Perpetually swiped left on Tinder.

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When it comes to being under scruntiny, no one comes close to us.  Our education, role in healthcare and knowledge is often dissected and discredited.  Truthfully, many are confused because we have many avenues to road of NP. I mean there is MSN vs. DNP then the specialties, ACNP, AGNP, FNP, PNP, WHNP or PMHNP. Online vs. Brick and Mortar.  Didactic and total clinical hours are always called on the carpet. Years of nursing bedside experience prior to continuing to grad school. I have never thought to question a PA regarding their program or past experience in a critical way.

Yes, we discuss these things amongst ourselves. However, naysayers to our profession use these things to fuel their prejudice. The claim that NP are ill prepared, irresponsible or troublesome. They will warn patients that NP care is lacking and could be detrimental to their well being. Regardless that study after study after study that prove this claim to be false (like this one, this one, and this one )

A few MDs complain was that NPs like to “pretend to be doctors”.  No, many ARE doctors. Not unlike chiropractors, physical therapist, pharmacists or people who hold a phD in various degrees. A DNP told me about an uncomfortable experience while in Germany. She was to present at a conference and was confronted backstage by an aggressive doctor who claimed “a doctorate in nursing practice is ridiculous”.

Medical practices will attempt to devalue our role. I see posts with offerings insulting salaries (65k, see 30 patients daily) and stringent contracts (I have a friend who was asked to sign a 25 mile radius noncompete clause!?, is this real life right now??).  Some are expected to act as scribes, not allowed to see patients alone. Office managers will think they are your boss (ummm….just no).

Maybe its the fact that we are a majority female profession. Maybe it is the fact that outside healthcare, many do not even understand what we are.  Maybe it is because numerous studies have shown that we provide cost effective, competent care with good patient outcomes and it worries others.  Whatever the reason, we are here to stay.  Although we are bullied, we never play the victim. Hopefully, the respect we have for others will be returned in kind.

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