Page 27 - Volume 70 Number 2
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But for practical reasons, we can’t all have a unique description of who we are and what we do. Just imagine the name tags. “Hi, I’m Alon Weizer, father, husband, son, brother, friend, and urologic surgeon who cares for patients with cancer and also is interested in improving the care we deliver all patients (and I like to write).”
That would be the short version and certainly would not fit on a name tag or capture all that makes me who I am. So what’s the answer? For some reason “clinician” seems to strike me as somehow more palatable than “provider.” defines clinician as a physician or other qualified person who is involved in the treatment and observation of living patients, as distinguished from one engaged in research. Not perfect, but also not bad when you think that provider is a person or thing that provides something or a breadwinner. That something can be patient care or it could be internet service or a hamburger. I’d much rather be a clinician than a provider if I had to compromise on how to define what I do similar to cancer patients who drove the idea of being defined as survivors and survivorship starting at the time of diagnosis.
Survivor seems so much more hopeful than cancer patient. And clinician does not ignore some of the other roles we might play. We used to use the term physician scientist all the time, but clinician scientist makes more sense today where we know that research in medicine is being done not only by doctors but others who are adding fresh perspectives and answering new questions.
At the end of the day, calling any of us providers will not change what we do every day, but it will miss the diversity of background, ideas, motivations and many other facets that drive all of us to make the world a better place for our fellow human beings. I’m curious to hear what others think so please send me your ideas. If you like the term “provider”, let me know why- I may be missing something here. If you don’t, give me a suggestion: aweizer@med.
Alon Weizer, MD, MS is a father, husband, son, brother, friend, and urologic surgeon at the University of Michigan who cares for patients with cancer and also is interested in improving the care we deliver all patients (and he likes to write.)
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Volume 70 • Number 2 Washtenaw County Medical Society BULLETIN 27

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