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Journal article by USA Health nurse leaders highlights advanced practice providers

Working in a silo rarely works. That was one reason a group of innovative nurse leaders at USA Health set out to determine how many advanced practice providers were caring for patients within the 3,900-employee system.

Published Jan 31st, 2019

Working in a silo rarely works. That was one reason a group of innovative nurse leaders at USA Health set out to determine how many advanced practice providers were caring for patients within the 3,900-employee system.

Advanced practice provider (APP) is a term given to non-physician healthcare practitioners who work as physician assistants or as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) and serve in provider roles such as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists and clinical nurse specialists.

The January 2019 issue of the Journal of Nursing Administration features a peer-reviewed article by USA Health nurse leaders, and nurse scientist consultant Julee Waldrop, who developed a model to support and unify advanced practice providers within USA Health. When caregivers thrive, the quality of care given to patients can move from good to great.

Authors of the article are Waldrop, DNP, PNP, FAANP, FAAN, along with USA Health nurse leaders Valerie Heinl, MSN, RN, CNL, NE-BC; Lisa Mestas, MSN, RN; S. Noelle Davis, MSN, BC-AGACNP; Lisa Gore, MSN, NNP and D. Nicole Chason, MSN, BC-AGACNP.

“At USA Health, advanced practice providers provide a wide range of services,” said Waldrop, who holds a doctor of nursing practice degree and has more than 26 years of experience as a nurse practitioner. “For professional development, we wanted to have a group where they can get support from each other and help each other do things similarly and equitably.”

The group from USA Health decided to explore the need for a more structured practice model for advanced practice providers working across the divisions of USA Health including USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, University Hospital, USA College of Medicine, USA Mitchell Cancer Institute and USA Physicians Group. The goal of the collaboration was to create an organizational structure where advanced practice providers could thrive clinically and professionally.

In 2017, the group identified at least 127 advanced practice providers working for USA Health in settings as diverse as hospital emergency rooms to outpatient clinics to physician offices.

“Many were shocked to find out how many advanced practice providers were in the health system,” said Heinl, a nurse manager at University Hospital. “What happens is they work in one setting and don’t typically have the opportunity to get out and meet other advanced practice providers.”

Lisa Mestas, USA Health Chief Nursing Officer, said the development of an advanced practice providers leadership group has resulted in a greater understanding of the different APP roles and their scopes of practice, and enhanced collaboration among the providers and other healthcare team members which ultimately improves patient care.

“The advanced practice providers are now supported from the highest levels of USA Health leadership,” Mestas said. “ The APPs are vital members of the team who are now being seen as leaders within our health system.”

About USA Health

With more than 3,900 employees, the University of South Alabama’s Health system is unlike any other healthcare organization on the Alabama Gulf Coast. It includes an acute care academic medical center, a hospital for children and women, a research and cancer treatment center and a physician practice.

About The Journal of Nursing Administration

The Journal of Nursing Administration is the authoritative source of information on developments and advances in patient care leadership. With 2,000 subscribers, the journal’s content is directed to nurse executives and directors of nursing. All articles are peer-reviewed, selected and developed with the guidance of a distinguished group of editorial advisors.

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