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Title Change 101: Basic questions

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I'm a new grad and don't know much about the politics of our profession. This topic was not discussed in PA school. Because I'm a newbie I have a few very basic questions about the process of changing our title. My goal is to understand the process and get involved:

1. Who's in charge and how can this be done?

2. Why does changing the title seems to be so difficult? Anyone against it? 

3. How can PAs like me get involved?

I'm all for changing our tittle and would like to help. My personal experience: In my graduation, the highly educated president of the campus kept saying "physician's assistant" during her speech. Very painful! Some family members say they are very happy I became a "physician's assistant." Oh my... At this point, it seems we need to change the title or change the grammar. Thank you for your answers. 

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Google <your state> physician assistant association.  Each of the fifty states has it's own legal procedures to get this accomplished, and the state association would love to have your support.

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4 hours ago, PsychiatricPA said:

I'm a new grad and don't know much about the politics of our profession. This topic was not discussed in PA school. Because I'm a newbie I have a few very basic questions about the process of changing our title. My goal is to understand the process and get involved:

1. Who's in charge and how can this be done?

2. Why does changing the title seems to be so difficult? Anyone against it? 

3. How can PAs like me get involved?

I'm all for changing our tittle and would like to help. My personal experience: In my graduation, the highly educated president of the campus kept saying "physician's assistant" during her speech. Very painful! Some family members say they are very happy I became a "physician's assistant." Oh my... At this point, it seems we need to change the title or change the grammar. Thank you for your answers. 

1. The state association would work with lobbyist and legislators to have it passed. The AAPA would have to pass a resolution on the matter for a state association to receive support from them on the matter, which likely would require it to be studied and voted on prior to a resolution being put forth.

2. Because many are against it thinking that it would either a) upset physicians and thus they would not provide us with ''support'' b) Would undermine the name recognition that we already have. There are many other reasons the opposition would list, but I think the 2 that I listed are really the ones they care about and have any legitimacy. Really I don't see why it's so difficult because it was reasonably easy for use to get rid of the 's from state laws.

3. Get involved in student AAPA organizations and support it. Ask candidate for national and state elected positions their opinion and vote for those who are pro title change. After graduation get involved in your state society. DONATE TO YOUR AAPA POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (PAC)!

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The dreaded apostrophe s has been a thorn for a long time. As you age in the profession it will likely begin to make you grind your teeth every time you hear it.

As LT pointed out it has to be passed state by state as our title is enshrined in our enabling legislation. It would be nice if there was a consensus as to title change but there isn't. Even the people in favor haven't arrived at an agreement as to what our new title would be. What could happen is different states choose different titles so we wouldn't all be the same nationwide...let us hope not. We will probably know more after the BOD meeting at the upcoming AAPA conference.

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New student here. My voice isn’t that important yet, but my vote would be for physician associate, just because it keeps “PA” unchanged, and drops the “assistant”. It would allow for ease of transition as states go about adopting slowly over time. It’s not perfect but it’s better, and combined with OTP, would be nice.

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lemur...here is many of us old farts issue with physician associate...it still makes us something..not ourselves and unique... and only existing as a relationship to a physician. I think we need a title that makes us...us and not related to any other medical professional. One man's opinion and your mileage may vary.

BTW don't assume your voice doesn't matter and never be afraid to ask a question or voice an opinion. Your generation of PA will be running this profession after I am dead and gone.

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26 minutes ago, corpsman89 said:

Go big or go home.

Medical Practitioner is a title that sounds great, and describes exactly who we are and what we do. 

Agreed.

Out of all the options I've seen suggested, Medical Practitioner makes the most sense. It is most descriptive of what PAs do and how they're trained, it sounds professional, and it isn't ambiguous like other options that have been presented. We shouldn't be stuck on keeping the PA initials at this point if it leads to an inferior name.  

I just hope the next AAPA leadership has the intestinal fortitude to revisit this issue and finally make this change happen while they push forward with OTP. 

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Third the medical practitioner idea.

I’m stealing this from someone else on the forum (sorry I don’t remember who) but I like the logic:

Nurses > nursing model > nurse practitioner

Us > medical model > medical practitioner

 

Edit: I guess I should admit to the two problems I see with MP. First, it sounds a lot like “NP.” Second, it may be too ambiguous since physicians could reasonably be called medical practitioners too.

Edited by kidpresentable
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33 minutes ago, LT_Oneal_PAC said:

I like medical practitioner, but still personally rather it be Clinical Officer like the independent generalists in Africa.

yup, I like that too. also CO is an abbreviation for commanding officer, while MP is an abbreviation for military police and sounds like NP.

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2 hours ago, kidpresentable said:

 

Edit: I guess I should admit to the two problems I see with MP. First, it sounds a lot like “NP.” Second, it may be too ambiguous since physicians could reasonably be called medical practitioners too.

 

I see your point. But a physician or a nurse, or anybody working with a physician can also be a "physician's assistant"  or physician associate if you really think about it. I really don't think the average physician care what we called ourselves. As long as we don't have physician or doctor in our name, I think we will be just fine. 

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1 hour ago, EMEDPA said:

yup, I like that too. also CO is an abbreviation for commanding officer, while MP is an abbreviation for military police and sounds like NP.

I don't think I will say I am a "MP" to patients. I've never seen physician introduce themselves as MD or DO. 

MP works well with the MD initial, It definitely makes us sound like a "team."  This is what we need for OTP! 

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4 hours ago, kidpresentable said:

Edit: I guess I should admit to the two problems I see with MP. First, it sounds a lot like “NP.” Second, it may be too ambiguous since physicians could reasonably be called medical practitioners too.

This! I like Physician Associate 

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Probably not so much of an issue, but the change might put current degree-holders in a weird spot: “I’ve got a Masters of Physician Assistant Science, but I’m a __________...”

Have to change the forum URL and branding too

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7 hours ago, EMEDPA said:

yup, I like that too. also CO is an abbreviation for commanding officer, while MP is an abbreviation for military police and sounds like NP.

My issue with titles like Clinical Officer and to some degree even Physician Associate, is that they are quite ambiguous, and don't intuitively say what we do or how we're trained. Clinical Officer doesn't sound bad, but I doubt the vast majority of the public (or other healthcare professionals for that matter) would make the association with the similar role in Africa, and would be more confusing than Medical Practitioner.

I don't think it's an issue that Medical Practitioner is similar to Nurse Practitioner; it's different enough to be clear that we are a unique profession, while the similarity may help with the ease of transition and understanding of the title to show that the professions do similar things in practice. Win-win. 

Also, as a former Army infantryman, I'm not crazy about the whole MP standing for "Military Police" in the Army (a little intraservice rivalry), but in the grand scheme of things this is no reason to discount an otherwise strong option. 

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1 hour ago, ProSpectre said:

My issue with titles like Clinical Officer and to some degree even Physician Associate, is that they are quite ambiguous, and don't intuitively say what we do or how we're trained. Clinical Officer doesn't sound bad, but I doubt the vast majority of the public (or other healthcare professionals for that matter) would make the association with the similar role in Africa, and would be more confusing than Medical Practitioner.

I don't think it's an issue that Medical Practitioner is similar to Nurse Practitioner; it's different enough to be clear that we are a unique profession, while the similarity may help with the ease of transition and understanding of the title to show that the professions do similar things in practice. Win-win. 

Also, as a former Army infantryman, I'm not crazy about the whole MP standing for "Military Police" in the Army (a little interservice rivalry), but in the grand scheme of things this is no reason to discount an otherwise strong option. 

I don’t expect people to associate it with the providers in Africa. I expect it to be unique so that people know we are not physicians or an NP or any other type of “medical practitioner”. I think people would hear “clinical” and if they have 2 marbles in their head would understand this person is medical and then hear officer and think Chief executive officer, or military officer, or police officer and associate it with authority.

my problem with medical practitioner is not that is like NP, which I think is more of a positive for people’s understanding, I think it’s too vague and does not make us unique enough that the name would stand out to you. I want something that does what I described in the first paragraph and is uniquely us.

I think it’s biggedt short coming is I think it would be hard to have title protection with medical practitioner because a physician could easily fight that in legislation stating “well I’m a medical practitioner. They can’t remove my ability to say that.”

But no one other than Emed has ever really liked my idea so I’m just going to keep staring it without any expectation it will catch on. Would like for it to at least be on some future survey if it ever comes around.

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2 hours ago, kidpresentable said:

Probably not so much of an issue, but the change might put current degree-holders in a weird spot: “I’ve got a Masters of Physician Assistant Science, but I’m a __________...”

Have to change the forum URL and branding too

We already have a variety of master's degrees one obtains upon completion of PA school and while it would be nice if we had one unified degree name, we don't, and it doesn't cause any problem now.  I've seen MPA, MS, MSBS, MPAS, MMSc, etc....I wish AAPA/ARC-PA/PAEA would get programs to all issue a standard degree like the MSN is for nurses.  Anything to get rid of the dreaded masters of physician assistant studies.  

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Clinical Officer could be anyone or anything. It could be some MBA that overseas clinical operations, or it could be a RN than manages a unit. 

Physician Associate sounds like Physician Assistant and its just as vague. You're still gonna have to answer the question: "What is a Physician Associate"?

MP sounds like NP= good (for patients to understand)

Besides, we wouldn't introduce ourselves as MP, and they wouldn't use MP in legislation. We would introduce our selves as a Medical Practitioner. If some asks what that is we would say: "we practice medicine." Boom, done. 

 

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3 hours ago, corpsman89 said:

Clinical Officer could be anyone or anything. It could be some MBA that overseas clinical operations, or it could be a RN than manages a unit. 

Physician Associate sounds like Physician Assistant and its just as vague. You're still gonna have to answer the question: "What is a Physician Associate"?

MP sounds like NP= good (for patients to understand)

Besides, we wouldn't introduce ourselves as MP, and they wouldn't use MP in legislation. We would introduce our selves as a Medical Practitioner. If some asks what that is we would say: "we practice medicine." Boom, done. 

 

hard to argue with this.

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Clinical Officer could be anyone or anything. It could be some MBA that overseas clinical operations, or it could be a RN than manages a unit. 

Physician Associate sounds like Physician Assistant and its just as vague. You're still gonna have to answer the question: "What is a Physician Associate"?

MP sounds like NP= good (for patients to understand)

Besides, we wouldn't introduce ourselves as MP, and they wouldn't use MP in legislation. We would introduce our selves as a Medical Practitioner. If some asks what that is we would say: "we practice medicine." Boom, done. 

 

I don't see how a clinical officer could be anyone or anything and that medical practitioner could not? No one uses the term "clinical" or "clinician" but high level medical providers. But whatever, I really don't care to argue FOR clinical officer because I've seen it's fruitless. I'm fine with going forward with medical practitioner if that is what the majority wants. However, I'm calling it now that there will be a title dispute that physicians will say "I'm also a medical practitioner so you can have that title protected by law so that only you can use it." Just be aware of that so you can plan for that argument ahead of time. I've yet to hear a convincing one.

How will you argue against a physician saying you can't restrict the use of medical practitioner to our group because they too are a practitioner of medicine aka medical practitioner? It's a cheap shot, but one they will use just so we can't change our name. Real question because you will have to have title protection involved in this title change, the same way we have protected the title physician assistant so that it is illegal for one to call themselves that unless they are licensed as a physician assistant. 

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I can hear it now, Them: “Do you have a professional association?”  Me:  “Yes, I’m a member of AAMP.”  Them:  “Sounds like an energy drink or a nightclub.”  Me:  Shrug shoulders and walk away.

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4 hours ago, corpsman89 said:

Clinical Officer could be anyone or anything. It could be some MBA that overseas clinical operations, or it could be a RN than manages a unit. 

Physician Associate sounds like Physician Assistant and its just as vague. You're still gonna have to answer the question: "What is a Physician Associate"?

MP sounds like NP= good (for patients to understand)

Besides, we wouldn't introduce ourselves as MP, and they wouldn't use MP in legislation. We would introduce our selves as a Medical Practitioner. If some asks what that is we would say: "we practice medicine." Boom, done. 

 

Physicians are "medical practitioners" as well so that doesn't solve our differences. Physician associate is better IMO because it shows that yeah we're associated with a physician. Whether that means the physician checks a PAs chart once a month, once a week, or even if they work side by side in the OR etc. It doesn't mean i that we're "assistants"or owned by another profession. 

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In my medical record where I am a patient under preferred name it says "Grand Poobah". I'm still waiting for someone to actually call me that.

I can't stick the landing on an opinion for a new title. I don't know if I don't care enough or I haven't heard one that really seems to fit the bill. I just know I'd rather not be physician anything. This is too big a change and too hard to make happen not to get it right.

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