What’s in a name?

The term “advanced practice provider” is the generally accepted term for advanced clinicians in all fields of medicine. But other less preferred terms, from “mid-level provider” to “associate provider” and “physician extender,” are still being used by some—and clinicians are respectfully calling for change. 

In an article entitled “Advanced Practitioners Are Not Mid-Level Providers,” published in the Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology, Catherine S. Bishop, DNP, reports that the term “midlevel practitioner” was defined by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration specifically in reference to healthcare providers allowed to administer controlled substances under U.S. law, and is an outdated and misapplied term.

“There is nothing ‘mid’ about either an APN or a PA,” Bishop notes. “I think all would agree that we provide a high level of care. Our skill set, education, training, and knowledge go above and beyond what would be considered mid-level. I propose that we be in charge of what we are called, not the government or other entities. Respectfully educating our institutions, human resource departments, recruiters, medical colleagues, and patients is a first step in changing the terminology.”