A Mighty Nurse vs The New York Times

Nurse and doctor debateI recently read an op-ed piece in The New York Times entitled “Nurses Are Not Doctors.”  The writer, Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, a fellow wordsmith and clinician, doesn’t think nurses are doctors.

Unless the nurse holds a PhD, DNP, etc., I wholeheartedly agree, but I don’t like the article as ‘nurse’ isn’t a pejorative term.

I like The Grey Lady (NYT), but Dr. Jauhar’s elitist attitude and its choice to run it without rebuttal, frankly, irritates me to no end. Moreover, I dislike the fact that The New York Times published it a week prior to National Nurses Week, a cheap slap in the face.

It’s not physicians, physical therapists and occupational therapists that I take issue with. It’s the disrespect that bothers me.

Dr. Jauhar’s argument that nurse practitioners lack the training needed to practice without physician oversight is one we’ve all heard before, but it’s disingenuous.

I think the primary reason male physicians don’t want to share power and prestige with APNs is that they don’t want to share power with anyone else in the profession that they’ve historically dominated. Perhaps that’s the power structure of doctors vs. nurses or maybe it’s male vs. female. A quick look at the demographics shows one certainly correlates to the other.

As a nurse, I want our profession to move forward; I’m not going to just roll over.  I don’t think any of us should just roll over. If an APN qualifies to practice medicine, they qualify to practice medicine, a stance agreed on by “The Institute of Medicine,” an organization controlled by physicians and other healthcare professionals.

In the article, Dr. Jauhar writes, “This does not seem fair or wise.”  Fair?  Life isn’t fair.  Wise?  What’s unwise about allowing a qualified APN to practice medicine?

I know it may seem unfair. Medical school costs more than any advanced nursing program, but fairness doesn’t dictate common sense, economics, or ability.

I hope The New York Times and Dr. Jauhar find this op-ed piece.  If The New York Times won’t allow a nurse to speak, Mighty Nurse will and I encourage you to share this and other perspectives advocating for APNs.

I would welcome an open debate with Dr. Jauhar here, The New York Times, or at Madison Square Garden if that’s what it takes. I may not be an APN, but I am a passionate RN that cares deeply about the nursing profession. I hope Dr. Jauhar will welcome an open and honest discussion.

  • Note from Mighty Nurse – We encourage open and honest discussion of all aspects of nursing career and lifestyle.  Let us know what you think about this issue, or submit your own story.

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