Nurse Practitioners (NP) and Physician Assistants (PA) bring immense value to their respective health care organizations, providing exceptional patient care and adding clinical support to care teams.
How NPs and PAs Add Value to Health Care
NPs and PAs provide many of the same services as physicians. Their scope of practice, dependent on state regulations, includes the ability to examine patients, diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, and prescribe medications, among other duties.
A few of the ways NPs and PAs add significant value to the organizations they serve include:
Lowering costs – NPs and PAs working alongside physicians can save a hospital as much as 40 percent in provider costs versus a program staffed by physicians alone.
Sharing the workload – By taking on lower acuity patients, NPs and PAs enable doctors to treat higher acuity, more medically complex patients.
Providing exceptional patient care – Physicians may have little time to spend with patients in high volume or high acuity situations. NPs and PAs available on the floor means more time dedicated to patients, significantly improving their perception of care, resulting in higher patient satisfaction scores.
Increasing throughput – The presence of nurse practitioners and physician assistants helps increase throughput due to more providers than a program staffed by physicians alone.
Easing recruiting – The shortage of qualified doctors makes the use of NPs and PAs a medical necessity, a factor that is especially true of rural hospitals where recruiting doctors is more difficult.
Reducing surge impact – NP and PA presence is particularly beneficial in the emergency department, especially when the ED is at maximum capacity due to the types of surges experienced during COVID-19’s height, for example.
Optimizing NPs and PAs in Your ED Program: What’s the Outlook?
Why NPs and PAs Should Add Value to Their Careers
NPs and PAs who work towards new certifications and specialization increase their knowledge and skillsets and open more career opportunities for themselves.
Cultivating skills in multiple areas, such as pediatrics, critical care, or long-term and hospice care, increases job security, enhances job qualifications, provides options to work in a broader variety of clinical settings, and adds value to patients and organizations alike.
Nurse Practitioner Specialties
The Nursing Licensure Map website lists 13 different specialty areas NPs can pursue, including acute care, adult gerontology, cardiac care, family practice, and pediatrics.
NPs who specialize in acute or critical care (AGACNP)—a growing subspeciality—avail themselves of increased hospital opportunities (e.g., emergency departments and ICUs) where they can focus on acute, critical, and complex chronic physical and mental illnesses. AGACNPs can also implement invasive procedures to stabilize patients, such as placing central lines, performing lumbar punctures, and introducing intubation.
Physician Assistant Specialties
PAs can consider Certificates of Added Qualifications (CAQ), a voluntary credential that Certified PAs could earn in various specialties, including emergency medicine, hospital medicine, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, and more.
Earning a CAQ demonstrates that, in addition to meeting the arduous standards for becoming a physician assistant, a PA has gained specialized expertise and gone above and beyond educationally to better serve patients in specific healthcare settings.
SCP Health has considerable experience with PAs with emergency medicine or hospital medicine and knows just how valuable they are in hospital environments. An EM or HM CAQ helps physician assistants maximize their utility in their practice environment and career advancement opportunities.
This certification is not an entry-level credential. Emergency medicine and hospital medicine CAQs involve an experienced-based mastery level competency process. PAs must demonstrate advanced knowledge and expertise in emergency or hospital medicine, in addition to what is required of entry-level PAs or PAs working in a generalist practice.
NPs/ PAs and Independent Practice
NP’s and PA’s scope of practice varies by state. Some states are more lenient than others, offering fuller autonomy and a degree of freedom that permits these practitioners to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications absent a physician’s oversight.
More states are allowing independent practice to bridge the gap of physician shortages and take advantage of these advanced practitioners’ increased skill level.
Learn How SCP Health Can Add Value to Your Career
Physician assistants and nurse practitioners are part of the foundation of SCP Health’s health care teams. Currently, this group of professionals constitutes 25 percent of our clinical provider workforce. We value their autonomy and support them with the tools, education, and leadership opportunities that matter most.
If you are ready to discover the value joining SCP Health can bring to your career advancement, review our current NP and PA job postings. You may find just the right opportunity to fit your goals.