Why the Term Mid-Level?

Academia takes offense to the term mid-level and surely some practicing nurse practitioners and physician assistants do as well.  But, let's be honest- it is what we are!

The AANP issued a statement addressing the term mid-level stating that the term mid-level "calls into question the legitimacy of NP's" and "implies that the care of NP's is less than that of some other higher standard".  I do not agree.  Nurse practitioners are now commonplace in the medical field and most patients and nearly all medical providers are familiar with the role nurse practitioners play in the medical field.  The best way to establish your legitimacy is not by your title, but by being good at what you do!  

The term mid-level is simply one of practicality.  Many medical providers hire both nurse practitioners and physician assistants to fill the same positions.  I have been employed in family practice, urgent care and emergency medicine and all have hired both physician assistants and nurse practitioners for the same positions.  The term "mid-level" arises from the need for an inclusive term to address these providers as a group, not to degrade these professions.

Some say the term mid-level does not accurately describe the nurse practitioner profession.  Sure, nurse practitioners often practice independently or with minimal supervision, but ultimately, when dealing with a complex case, most should and do refer to a physician.  Physician's length of education and residency is significantly greater than that at the nurse practitioner level and therefore they are more equip to deal with certain situations.  This should not be offensive to nurse practitioners, it is simply a fact. 

So, rather than being uptight an focusing on terminology, nurse practitioners nedd to focus on providing quality healthcare which will provide them the respect and legitimacy they deserve.