Ass Umptions: Nurse practitioners – A solution to America’s primary care crisis

            What is an “Ass Umption?” A neologism inferring a ridiculous notion. But as the old saying goes “making assumptions makes an ass out of you and me.” This is a follow up to a prior recent blog: This article is tedious to review, so I will review in small sections at a time. It seems fitting, as each sentence is filled with Ass Umptions. The article reports:

“it is unrealistic to rely on the physician workforce alone to provide the primary care Americans need,”

            Talking point with the Ass Umption that another discipline can solve this problem setting up the argument as to why they should. Nurse practitioners (NPs) have a valuable role on physician led health care teams in my opinion, however, are not a replacement for physicians. It is unrealistic to think another discipline educated in the field of nursing can fill the physician shortage. Physicians are educated in the field of medicine. Thus, the physician shortage is not a nursing problem. It is a physician problem. Every year thousands of MD’s qualified to license aren’t matched into residencies. This is the problem. The bottleneck that occurs after medical school. The solution is not more nurses, but more physicians. 

“even fewer physicians practicing in rural areas”

            Another Ass Umption that assumes that NPs only go to rural areas to fill the physician shortage. This has been proven to be false. I’ve written about this before. Truth be told, the talking point that NPs go to rural areas and physician don’t is just false. Believe me, I am not anti-NP, I’m just pro-truth. 

            Last Ass Umption for this blog is based off of the following from the article:

“the NP workforce has increased dramatically and is projected to continue growing while the physician workforce will grow minimally”

            Why is this an Ass Umption? Well, it assumes that since there are more NPs being trained than physicians that this justifies replacing physicians with NPs. Well if this is the argument, then there are more RNs than NPs, so maybe RN’s should replace NPs. Or since there are more CNAs, maybe they should replace RNs. Or since there are more administrators being trained than physicians, why don’t we replace physicians with administrators. You can’t! Physicians are the only ones trained in the discipline of medicine and no other discipline can replace that.

Ass Umptions!!

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