Letter: Chartock ignorantly demeans NPs, PAs

To the editor:

Once again, Alan Chartock writes about something he knows absolutely nothing about when subjecting nurse practitioners and physician assistants to demeaning comments concerning their preparedness to practice medicine. ("Let pharmacists fill void left by doctor shortage," column, Sept. 15.)

It is unfortunate that Chartock thinks that advanced practice clinicians play only a supportive role to physicians as many of us practice medicine with little or no supervision at all. We see patients, assess their problems and develop treatment plans often without any physician input at all. As physicians consult with each other about difficult cases, so do advanced practice clinicians. Practicing medicine in today's environment is a team sport.

Medical practitioners take the same undergraduate courses to get into medical, PA or NP school — biology, chemistry and the well-known make it or break it course of organic chemistry. We are as geeky as many of the doctors. We were not political science majors, that decades old well-worn easy path to a college degree.

Somehow, Chartock has completely missed the "I love my PA or NP" movement. I can't count how many times my patients expressed dismay when I suggested that perhaps it was time that they see one of my doctor colleagues when I thought a second set of eyes or ears might shed some light on an ongoing medical problem. That's called a second opinion which is common in medical practice no matter where it comes from. My patients often stated they were comfortable with the plan we had developed and preferred that I remain their primary medical practitioner.

As in any profession including medicine and political science, there will be those who practice at the highest level and those whose skills and intellectual capabilities are average or less so. Chartock would do well do study harder on topics he clearly knows little about but wishes to be a mouthpiece for. The fact that he thinks pharmacists should be able to prescribe medications as if that is the only thing that doctors do is testament to his ignorance of the practice of medicine in general. In this case, The Berkshire Eagle's disclaimer that the "opinions expressed" by Chartock are his alone and not the Eagle's is well thought out.

Rich Woller,



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