“Provider” is a substantial, material word that will require a medical sledgehammer to crack open…and what we find inside this 8-letter facade will turn your stomach and give a new sense of appreciation for it’s history.
First, before the healthcare system adopted and mangled this well-meaning word, it was not a healthcare word. It had real meaning rooted in family life; the head of a household provided for their family. It was rooted in substance and survival. There was an aura of pride and dedication in being that family
Sadly, healthcare has an clumsy tendency to mangle and maim its lexicon….and has rendered provider a hollow noun, a shell of its former self.
As physicians and clinicians we provide a service to people who are sick, worried or dying….as we have since the days of shamans, medical men and healers. So, why and how did the word provider rise so rapidly? If you look at any historical literature or descriptions of healthcare, there are sparse references to medical professionals as providers.