These days there's also a growing competition in a new area, the billing relationship.
Living in Georgia I have been treated to annual legislative battles between lobbies for doctors and nurses, with the latter seeking more power and the former trying to deny it to them.
The fight has been especially fierce when it comes to prescriptive power. Doctors don't like nurses prescribing drugs, even in a limited way.
The New England Journal of Medicine voiced many concerns about them last year. They're called "cream-skimming," they put the onus on patients to determine how sick they are, they don't assure continuity of care, and they could just take over.
Partly due to these new opportunities, nursing schools are upgrading their curricula, turning specialty nursing programs into doctoral programs.
So, should doctors, especially internists (formerly called general practitioners) feel threatened? Do you?