McCaughey’s column belittles a profession

I found the Betsy McCaughey column in Thursday’s Alpena News to be particularly disturbing as she belittled the work of nurse practitioners. As a physician assistant I have worked with physicians, nurse practitioners and other members of a variety of medical teams for 30 years as we have all sought to provide the best care that we could. Neither nurse practitioners nor physician assistants claim to be doctors. The critical issue is always in recognizing one’s abilities and limitations and the willingness to refer or consult with physicians. Even the doctors I know do that and it is something that those of us who are “mid-level providers” do on a routine basis. Dr. Reid B. Blackwelder, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians has pointed out that no one in our current health care system is truly independent anymore and that medicine is a “team sport.” The fact is that there is a physician shortage and particularly a primary care physician shortage. There are over 300,000 nurse practitioners and physician assistants that work with physicians. The nurse practitioners and physician assistants who work within our region are a critical part of our medical community. The ignorance of Dr. McCaughey (a Ph.D not MD) regarding the gifts and abilities of NPs and PAs is exceeded only by her grasp of reality in how quality medical care can be provided to meet the needs of people.

Steven Hammond, PA-C

Clinic Director

Free Clinic of Alpena