Two recent letters to the editor (“We Are Our Own Worst Enemy,” March/April 2012, and “The State of Family Medicine,” May/June 2012) have suggested that the cause for family medicine’s undervaluation is, at least in part, nurse practitioners. As a 20-year veteran nurse practitioner, I respectfully disagree. It is unfortunate that family medicine, the gateway to cost-effective care through prevention, is reimbursed at a lesser rate than many specialties and thus lures fewer medical school graduates. However, because fewer graduates are choosing family medicine, nurse practitioners help fill the gap.
As a nurse practitioner, I bring a holistic nursing perspective to my practice that complements the bio-physical paradigm of medicine shared by many physicians. I work in a multispecialty practice in which all providers – physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants – acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses and share their knowledge and experience to assure quality patient care.