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What is an Advanced Practice Provider?

In the last several years, there has been tremendous growth in the field of advanced practice providers. The advanced practice providers (APPs) that you might be the most familiar with are nurse practitioners (NP) or physician assistants (PA). These providers often work in primary care and specialty clinics under the supervision and direction of a physician. APPs play a vital role in the health care community, especially at Pardee, by increasing access to care, providing patient education, and increasing patient satisfaction. While there are specific weeks to honor these providers, we celebrate them daily and thank them for the dedication and commitment they bring to delivering high-quality care to the community.

To deepen our understanding of the role that both play, let’s explore the differences in NPs and PAs, beginning with the nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner first practices as a registered nurse (RN) before continuing his or her education to become a nurse practitioner, earning a master’s-level degree in nursing or a doctorate degree.

A physician assistant studies pre-med courses in college before moving on to higher education at a PA program. During PA school, they complete their training in a medical school setting with clinical rotations in multiple areas of medical practice and undergo much of the same training a physician would. They earn a master’s degree as a PA and sometimes go on to earn a doctorate degree.

Both NPs and PAs are trained in diagnosing and treating medical issues with some focusing on primary care, while others specialize in areas of medicine like orthopedics, oncology or cardiology.  At Pardee, we are proud to employ 11 nurse practitioners and 35 physician assistants whose specialties range from primary care to emergency medicine and oncology.

Advanced care providers do more than just deliver care; they work throughout the entirety of health care, including health promotion and disease prevention, medical education, mentoring, clinical and basic science research, disease diagnosis. They can also be important advocates for many different patient populations.  

The role of advanced practice providers is especially critical in the primary care setting, as they help to increase productivity and patient access while also providing the patient with education and follow up that help prevent complications and readmissions. We have a number of advanced practice providers who provide comprehensive primary care services, including internal medicine and family medicine, for people of all ages throughout Henderson, Transylvania, and Buncombe Counties.

As part of your medical team, advanced practice providers offer courteous and compassionate service and ensure continuity of care and individualized treatment for each patient. The importance of having these advanced practice providers in the health care setting cannot be overstated. Feel confident in knowing that you are receiving excellent care by highly trained medical providers when you are seen by a member of our advanced practice providers.

To find a primary care provider near you, visit www.pardeehospital.org/primarycare.

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