Advanced Care From Advanced Practitioners
Advanced practitioners—Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs, often referred to collectively as Nurse Practitioners) and Physician Assistants (PAs) have become crucial contributors to healthcare. In the face of a physician shortage and growing, aging patient populations presented with increasingly complex conditions, advanced practitioners not only extend the reach and effectiveness of physicians—they bring special skills to the clinic and the bedside.
The NP, trained in a nursing paradigm, focuses on the whole patient and aims to spend the time it takes to forge a close relationship with the person in need of care—and the loved ones who care about them. The PA, trained according to a medical model, contributes to the core mission of healing by relieving the physician of many important duties, while also focusing on clear communication with the patient—a must in today’s complex clinical settings.
Research shows that advanced practitioners bring clear advantages to the organization, including cost savings and reduced hospitalizations, ER visits and lengths of stay.
The Unique Needs of Advanced Practice Providers
NPs and PAs carry out many of the same procedures as physicians, and under the same conditions characterizing modern medicine: complexity, time and productivity pressures, heavy charting responsibilities and more. It stands to reason these valuable practitioners are under the very same stresses and burnout risks experienced and well documented for physicians. And they undergo stressors unique to their roles too. A widespread lack of clarity and definition of their responsibilities in the organization, for example, can lead to confusion and anxiety about what to do and when.
Organizations are wise to focus more attention on the needs of advanced practitioners—clarity about roles, effective supervision and mentoring, paths to advancement and more.
For more on how your organization can take a proactive approach in ensuring your advanced practitioners are well equipped to fulfill their roles effectively, download our article, "How To Care For Your Advanced Practice Providers."