WORTHINGTON — If advanced practice providers, or APPs, ever went away, you’d notice. They’re an irreplaceable part of health care. Their reach goes far and wide. They work with physicians to see, and treat, patients of all ages.
Some patients have questions about APPs, and what exactly they do.
We’ve got answers.
Who is an APP? Many providers fall under the umbrella term of an APP. They include Nurse practitioners, Certified nurse midwives, Certified registered clinical nurse specialists, Certified registered nurse anesthetists and Physician assistants.
APPs provide multiple services for patients including diagnosing and treating conditions and illnesses; diagnostic tests, including laboratory and medical imaging; prescribing medications and alternate treatments; informing patients on health conditions and prevention of illnesses; and communicating with physicians, nurses, social workers and pharmacists to ensure quality patient outcomes
What education do APPs have? Lisa Milbrandt is a PA-C at Sanford Health in Worthington, MN. She said PAs are APPs who have a master’s degree and are licensed to provide medical care with the supervision of a physician.
“We go through a full bachelor’s program in undergrad. Then, the school after that is onto a PA program. The one I went to at Bethel University in St. Paul is a full year of classroom learning.” After that comes clinicals.
“Forty, 60, 80-hour weeks of being strictly in the clinics. Every six weeks you go to a different location and different specialty. We have a little bit of knowledge in every field of medicine. We go from family practice to surgery, to cardiology or dermatology, (and) pediatrics,” she explained.
PAs have a different educational path than the rest of APPs. To become an NP, CNM, CRNA, or CNS, a provider must become a registered nurse first before continuing their education.
Nurse practitioners, for example, “have a bachelor’s degree in nursing; they’ve become nurses and have done a four-year college program for nursing. Then, they have gone on to the graduate level and received whatever specialization they work in,” explained Nicole Block, CNP, from Sanford Health in Worthington.
“There’s a couple different branches, like midwives, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, and they have very specific training for their area,” Block added.
Where are APPs needed most? APPs, in all forms, are critical. Especially in rural health care, “where there’s a shortage of physicians,” Milbrandt said.
“It is pretty special to find any providers that want to be in