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Use of Terms Such as Mid-level Provider and Physician Extender

The use of terms such as mid-level provider and physician extender in reference to nurse practitioners (NPs) individually, or to an aggregate inclusive of NPs, is inaccurate and misleading. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) calls for the retirement of these inaccurate terms and endorses referring to NPs by their title.

NPs are licensed, independent practitioners. The NP scope of practice is nationally defined and distinct from that of other health disciplines. NP scope is not dependent on, or an extension of, the care rendered by a physician or other health care provider. Using these inaccurate descriptors to refer to NPs confuses the public about the role and accountability NPs have for the services they provide.

In addition to the terms cited above, other inaccurate terms that should be avoided in reference to NPs include limited-license providers, non-physician providers and allied health providers. When it is necessary to group providers for policymaking or other purposes, more appropriate terms may instead be primary care providers, health care providers, health care professionals, advanced practice providers, clinicians or prescribers.

AANP only endorses the term “nurse practitioner.”

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© American Association of Nurse Practitioners 2009
Revised 2010, 2013, 2015, 2022