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Open Letter to the AMA, AAEM and AAEM/RSA

On behalf of the nation’s 270,000 nurse practitioners (NPs) expanding health care access for patients nationwide, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) calls upon the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) and its Resident Student Association (AAEM/RSA) to retract its recent open letter, which was riddled with blatant inaccuracies and self-serving statements that seek to undermine the NP profession and devalue the health care needs of patients nationwide.

AANP is proud of its public awareness campaign that highlights the role of the NP as well as the patients who choose them as their primary care providers. Our goal is to expand public awareness of the NP role and to encourage more patients to consider an NP.

Your assertions that the commercials "challenge physician education,” encourage patients to choose NPs “over a physician” and contain the tagline “brain of a doctor, heart of a nurse” are, frankly, a fact-check failure by your organizations and utterly false. In fact, the words “physician” and “physician education” do not appear in the commercials nor does the tagline you mention.

To be clear, AANP never conceived of nor sponsored “brain of a doctor, heart of a nurse” as a tagline in any advertising campaign or as content in any official social post issued from our organizational social accounts. In fact, we find the entire premise insulting, as 50 years of research clearly demonstrate, the “brains” of NPs drive health care outcomes equivalent to physicians, year in and year out.

It is time for organized medicine to recognize that America’s NPs provide safe, accessible, high-quality health care to patients in more than a billion visits each year. And, with the passage of legislation granting patients direct access to NP care in 22 states and the District of Columbia, we are leading the way to better health care access nationwide.

AANP is committed to working with state policymakers to improve state licensure laws and close the gap between the high level of care that NPs are educated and prepared to provide and the restricted level of care that outdated state licensure laws — frequently promoted by organized medicine — allow NPs to deliver. In 28 states, it is illegal for NPs to engage in at least one element of NP practice without maintaining a collaborative agreement with a physician. This creates an unnecessary bureaucratic burden on physicians, NPs and their patients, needlessly driving up health care costs and inefficiencies. Removing these barriers will not erode well communicated or coordinated patient care.

A vast majority of health consumers — two out of three patients — support policies and legislation that remove barriers to NP practice. It is time for the American Medical Association (AMA), AAEM and AAEM/RSA to put patients first and let them choose their own provider. Only then can we make patient-centered, accessible health care available to all. AANP stands ready to work with medicine to find reasonable solutions to the issues where we differ and promote high-quality health care together for all of our nation’s citizens.

Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP, PNP, FAANP
AANP President

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 270,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. To locate a nurse practitioner in your community, go to For more information and to locate an NP in your community, visit .