American Family Care clinics--You get to see a physician, not a nurse!
Physicians are better than APRNs because they just are!
May 31, 2013 -- Truth About Nursing supporters recently told us about a television commercial being aired in the southern United States by American Family Care, an aggressively expanding chain of urgent care clinics that plans to have more than 140 locations in 26 states by the end of this year. The ad featured two people texting back and forth about where to seek health care. At the end, one texter recommended that the other go to American Family Care because there you get to see "a doctor, not a nurse." We could not locate the commercial (we created the image above based on what people told us the ad was like), but American Family Care itself was not hard to find. We placed about 7 calls, 1 per day, to Felicia Fortune, the corporation's director of marketing. She never returned any calls. Then we placed a call to company CEO Bruce Irwin and left a detailed message. American Family Care's chief medical officer Glenn Harnett returned our call and had a long discussion with Truth executive director Sandy Summers--you can listen to a recap of that phone call here in an mp3 (9 min). Harnett insisted that the care provided by physicians was better than that provided by APRNs based on the length of physicians' formal education. However, APRNS typically get as much formal health science education--4 years--as physicians do, and in any case a mountain of research in recent decades has shown that if either of the two professions has better patient outcomes, it's nurses. Harnett was not interested in the research, despite the strong and increasing emphasis on evidence-based practice in modern health care. He did, however, tell Sandy that American Family Care would pull the ad. We thanked him. Harnett said the company would replace it with an ad that went something like this: "At American Family Care, we care about you. That's why when you come to our clinics, you get to see a physician." We told him that isn't much better, since it implies that the people you're not seeing--which in the quick clinic context would only be APRNs--are inferior to the ones you are seeing. Sadly, Harnett did not see our point. And he refused to let us help the company create an ad that was not offensive or to send us a link to the new ad once it was done. By the way, we see that the company's "staff openings" section currently lists four (4) Family Nurse Practitioner positions in Alabama--we certainly hope the company "cares about" its Alabama customers as much as the others! Anyway, if you see a new version of the company's ad or related marketing efforts, please send us a copy or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks very much!