ASCO Education
ASCO Education
Jun 21, 2022
Advanced Practice Providers - APPs 101: What and Who Are Advanced Practice Providers (APPs)?
Play • 37 min

Partners in cancer care – who are advanced practice providers? In the first episode of ASCO Education’s podcast series on Advanced Practice Providers (APPs), co-hosts Todd Pickard (MD Anderson Cancer Center) and Dr. Stephanie Williams (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine), along with guest speaker, Wendy Vogel (Harborside/APSHO), discuss who advanced practice providers are, share an overview of what they do, and why they are important to oncology care teams. If you liked this episode, please subscribe. Learn more at https://education.asco.org, or email us at education@asco.org

 

TRANSCRIPT

Todd Pickard: Hello everyone, and welcome to the ASCO Education Podcast, episode number one of the 'Advanced Practice Providers' series, 'APPs 101: What and Who Are Advanced Practice Providers?'

I'd like to introduce my co-host for this series, Dr. Stephanie Williams. My name is Todd Pickard. I'm an advanced practice provider, I'm a PA, and I work at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. I'm also the Executive Director of Advanced Practice and my clinical practice is in urology. Dr. Williams, how about you introduce yourself?

Dr. Stephanie Williams: Thanks, Todd, and thanks for this opportunity to present this incredibly important topic. I am currently retired from clinical practice. I had been in practice for over 35 years both in an academic setting, a private practice, and more recently in a large institutional, multi-specialty institutional type of practice. My primary clinical care has been in stem cell transplants and cellular therapy. And we have used APPs, both PAs and NPs for a couple of decades in our particular area.

Todd Pickard: Great, thanks for that. I'd also like to introduce you to our guest panelist today, Wendy Vogel from Harborside, who is a certified oncology nurse practitioner with over 20 years of clinical experience and expertise.

We're excited to be chatting with Wendy today about the basics of advanced practice providers and who they are. This will be an introduction for the rest of the upcoming episodes of APP Podcasts. Wendy, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and your practice.

Wendy Vogel: Thanks, Todd. It is a pleasure to be here. I appreciate you asking me to talk. I am an oncology nurse practitioner as you said. I do a high-risk cancer clinic and do that a couple of days a month. And I am also the executive director of APSHO, the Advanced Practitioner Society for Hematology and Oncology.

Todd Pickard: Great! We're looking forward to a robust and informative discussion today between the three of us. So, I’d like to get started with some basics. Wendy, do you want to always start with a definition of advanced practice registered nurse?

Wendy Vogel: Okay, great question! So, APRNs or advanced practice registered nurse include nurse practitioners. It can include clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives.

And generally, APRNs hold at least a master's degree in addition to some initial nursing education as a registered nurse. Some APRNs have doctorates like the DNP or Doctorate of Nursing Practice. But licensure for APRNs generally falls under the State Board of Nursing.

 

So, we're also required to have a board certification, usually as some sort of generalist as in family medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, women or acute care. But in oncology, many APRNs also carry oncology certification.

Todd Pickard: Excellent! Thanks for that. I'll go ahead and add to the conversation by defining physician assistant. So, physician assistants are individuals who are trained in the medical model and are licensed to practice medicine in team-based settings with physicians.

Very much like advanced practice registered nurses, we come from a variety of backgrounds, and our education model is really focused on thinking about the patient the same way that our physician colleagues do.

We're trained in really taking a very broad look at patient care, and our education as a generalist model. PAs are certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, which is one national certification that includes all of the content areas in which we will practice.

Dr. Stephanie Williams: For those out there who don't know, what are the differences between a physician assistant and an APRN? Or are there differences in practical terms, in terms of how we practice our field?

Wendy Vogel: That is a great question, Stephanie, thanks for asking that. We function very much the same. The main difference is just in our educational background, where nurse practitioners come from a nursing background and the nursing model of care, and I'll let Todd speak to where PAs come from, but basically, our functions are very much the same.

Todd Pickard: I very much agree. If you are in a clinical setting, and for some reason, Wendy or myself failed to identify who we are, you wouldn't really detect a distinction between the care either of us provide, because we are there in that provider setting and we're really there to assess the conditions you have like appropriate history in physical examination, think through differential diagnosis or a workup, create a diagnosis and then a therapeutic plan and also to educate you as the patient or to make an appropriate referral.

So, really, when APPs, PAs, and NPs work side by side, there's really not a lot of difference in what people detect in what we're doing and how we're doing things. But there are some educational differences, which are pretty minimal.

So, for example, one small difference is that PAs include surgical assisting as part of our core fundamental training, and our APRN colleagues generally don't. So, in my institution, we do have nurse practitioners that go to the OR and do assisting, but in order to get there, they did a Registered Nursing First Assist Program, it's a certification. So, they learn those fundamentals of sterile technique and surgical technique. So, in essence, there's really not a whole lot of difference.

Dr. Stephanie Williams: I think what I was struck with about the difference was the history and the fact that PAs came out of the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals. To me, that was just fascinating. I think Duke was the first graduating class.

Wendy Vogel: You know, the role of the APRN has really changed drastically. It began in the 1960s, because there were not enough primary care providers, particularly for children in the urban and rural areas of the US, and the first nurse practitioner program was in 1965, at the University of Colorado. So, gosh! Have we come a long way since then, both the PA role or the NP role. When was the first PA role, Todd, when was that?

Todd Pickard: We were born at the same time in 1965, we just happened to be at Duke University and y'all were in Colorado. You know, I think that the most important thing about working with advanced practice providers is that you look to work with somebody who has the competencies, the skills, interpersonal communication, and the pertinent experiences because honestly, I know fantastic APRNs, I know fantastic PAs, and I know some of either profession that really just don't quite fit a particular role.

And so, there is some kind of mythology around PAs and APRNs, and who should work where, like PAs should be more procedural and more in surgery, and nurse practitioners should be more in medicine in the hospital. And really, there's nothing in our training that defines that per se, I think it's just a natural progression of we're over 50 now, so our professions are middle-aged. And we're starting to really have our feet underneath us. And I think people who've worked with PAs or NPs really understand, it's about the individuals and what they bring to the table.

It's not really about the initials behind our names, because honestly, that's not what makes me do good work. It's not that I have the PA or NP behind my name. It's my commitment and dedication to my patients and supporting the rest of my team.

Wendy Vogel: I think Stephanie, that's why we use the term advanced practitioner, advanced practitioner provider because it doesn't single out either one of us because we are functioning in the same manner. It's easier to say than say, PAs and NPs, so we just say, APPs.

Todd Pickard: Yeah. And it doesn't mean that we don't identify as individual professions, because we do. I mean, I'm a PA, but I am part of a larger group. And part of that larger group is identifying as advanced practice provider because, at my institution, there are over 1000 of us, and we are a community of providers, and that's the way that we sense how we function within the team and within the institution. And so, it's really about that kind of joint interprofessional work.

And speaking of work, Wendy, tell us a little bit about what are typical things that advanced practice providers do?

Wendy Vogel: It might be easier to say what we don't do. I’ve got a list. Do you want to hear my list?

Todd Pickard: Yeah, lay it on us.

Wendy Vogel: Okay, here you go. Staff and peer education, survivorship care, palliative care, hospice care, pain management, acute care clinics, case management, research, cancer patient navigator, genetic services, lung nodule clinics, quality improvement. We're writers, we're authors, we’re speakers, we mentor, and we do all kinds of public education.

We can have clinical roles with faculty and professional organizations. We do procedures like bone marrows, paracentesis and suturing, and all that kind of stuff. We do a lot with all the other things like diagnosing, all the things you said earlier, diagnosing, ordering lab tests, ordering chemotherapy, etc.

Todd Pickard: I think what's amazing about advanced practice providers is the flexibility we have to fill in gaps on teams or in service lines, no matter what that is. You know, I like to say and I'm sure everybody thinks that they originated this, but I feel that advanced practice providers are the stem cells of the team because we differentiate into whatever is necessary.

At my institution, we recently had a gap in how our peer-to-peers were handled. Many times, you order an MRI or a PET scan, and the payer will, the day of or the day before, say, ‘Oh, I need to talk to somebody.’ How that gets to the clinical team and when the clinical team has time to do that, it’s really hard to coordinate.

So, we created a team of advanced practice providers who spend one day a week doing the regular clinical roles, but then the rest of the time, they are dedicated to facilitating these peer-to-peer conversations. They have over a 95% success rate. And the payers, the medical directors, have actually gotten to know them. And so, they'll say, ‘Hey, I want to talk to so and so because she's fantastic and knows our program, and it's really easy to have these conversations.’

And so, patients are taken care of and these business needs are taken care of, and then our clinical teams can really focus on what they're there for, which is to see those patients in and out every day.

So, that's the power of advanced practice, its flexibility, filling in gaps; we can bend and morph to whatever we need to do because one of the things that’s in our DNA is part of PA and advanced practice RN, we're here to serve, we're problem solvers or doers, too. When we see something, we pick it up and take care of it. That's just in our nature.

Stephanie, tell us a little bit about your experience working with an advanced practice provider, is what Wendy and I are saying ringing true, or what's your experience?

Dr. Stephanie Williams: Oh, absolutely! As I look back on my career, I'm not certain that I could have accomplished much of what I did, without my team members and advanced practice providers, both PAs and NPs.

We also use them in an inpatient setting. And I can’t remember Wendy mentioned that to take care of our stem cell transplant patients, because of residency, our requirements were removed from our services, and they became the go-to’s to taking care of the patients.

It actually improved the continuity of care that the patients received because they would see the same person throughout their 4 to 6-week course in the hospital, they also helped run our graft versus host clinics.

I hate that term physician extender because they're really part of our health care team. We are all healthcare professionals working together, as Todd beautifully mentioned, for a common goal to help that patient who's right there in front of us. And not only that, from a kind of selfish viewpoint, they help with a lot of the work, doing the notes, so that we could all split up the work and all get out on time and all have at least some work-life balance.

And I think that's a very important part of any team is that we can each find our own work-life balance within the team. So, I feel that they're a very important part of the oncology healthcare team. And I would recommend that everyone who wants to take care of patients, incorporate them into their team.

Wendy Vogel: Can I say something right here that you mentioned that I'm so glad you did, which was physician extender. That is a dirty, dirty word in the AP world now because we don't know what part we're extending, that is not what we do.

And also, we don't want to be called mid-level providers because – you can't see but I'm pointing from my chest to my belly - I don't treat just the mid-level, nor do I treat in mid-level care. I give superior care. I just give different care. And I give care on a team.

And the last one is a non-physician provider. That is also a no-no because I wouldn't describe a teacher as a non-fireman, nor would I describe you, Stephanie, as a non-nurse practitioner. So, I don't want to be a non-physician provider either.

Todd Pickard: It is an interesting phenomenon that even after 50 years, so many different places, whether it's the Joint Commission, or the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, whether it's a state legislator, an individual state, an individual institution like Memorial Sloan Kettering or an MD Anderson or a Moffitt, everybody comes up with these different terms. And it's so interesting to me.

Physicians are either physicians, doctor, sometimes they're called providers. But as a PA, who's an advanced practice provider, those are the two things that resonate with me: either call me PA or call me advanced practice provider.

All these other names seem to just be, it’s an alphabet soup, and it really doesn't carry any meaning because some places just come up with these strange terms. And I agree, physician extenders has been the one that always has amused me the most because it reminds me of hamburger helper.

Am I some noodles that you add to the main meal so that you can extend that meal out and serve more people? I think what Wendy and I are really trying to get at, I know this has been with a little bit tongue in cheek, but we are part of the team. We work with physicians in a collaborative team-based setting, just like we all work with social workers and schedulers and business people and pharmacists and physical therapists.

I think the main message here is that oncology care and taking care of patients with cancer is a team effort because it is a ginormous lift. It's a ginormous responsibility and our patients deserve a full team that works collaboratively and works well and has them in our focus like a laser, and I know that's what APPs do.

Dr. Stephanie Williams: I think that's well said, Todd. What I enjoyed in the clinic in particular, was sitting down and discussing patient issues and problems with my APPs. And we worked together to try to figure out how to resolve issues that would come up. But we also learned from each other, you're never too old to learn something from people. I just felt the interaction, the interpersonal interaction was also very satisfying as well.

Wendy Vogel: I think that the job satisfaction that comes from being a team player and working together is so much higher and that we're going to experience so much less burnout when we're working together each to the fullest scope of our practice.

Todd Pickard: So, Wendy, one of the things that people ask a lot about when they work with advanced practice providers is, ‘Well, gosh! How do I know that they have this training or this experience or this competency?’ And then the question arises about certification.

So, let's talk a little bit about certification and what that means and what it doesn't mean. So, tell me, are advanced practice providers certified? And are they required to get a variety of certifications throughout their career? Let's talk a little bit about that. Why don't you open up the dialog.

Wendy Vogel: Okay, happy to! So, to be able to practice in the United States, I have to have a board certification. And it can vary from state to state, but generally, it has to be either a family nurse practitioner certification, acute care nurse practitioner, geriatrics, women's health, pediatrics, there are about five. So, you are generally certified as one of those.

There are a few oncology certifications across the US, board certifications to be able to practice at the state level, but not all states recognize those. So, most of us are educated in a more generalist area, have that certification as a generalist, and then can go on to get an additional certification.

So, many nurse practitioners in oncology will also get an advanced oncology nurse practitioner certification. So, that's a little bit different. It's not required to practice. But it does give people a sense that, ‘Hey, she really knows what she's doing in oncology.’

Todd Pickard: The PA profession has one national certification, and it is a generalist certification. It's probably similar to USMLE, where you really are thinking about medicine in its entirety. So, whether that be cardiology, orthopedics, family medicine, internal medicine, geriatric, psychiatry, or ophthalmology. I mean it's everything – and oncology is included as well. And that certification really is the entree into getting licensure within the states.

It's basically that last examination that you take before you can get that license just to make sure that you have the basic knowledge and fundamentals to practice. And so, I always respond to this kind of question about certification, I say, ‘Well, is it really the experience and the onboarding and the training that one gets on the job and the mentoring and the coaching that one gets from our physician colleagues and other advanced practice providers that brings them the most value? Or is it going through an examination, where basically you're responding to a certain amount of information, and you either pass it or you don't, and you can get a certification?

I'm not saying there's not value in that, but I'm also making the argument that if you are working with your APPs well, and they have good mentors, and they have good resources, they're going to be excellent clinicians. And having an additional certification may or may not make some huge difference.

Many times I see people use it as a differentiator for privileges or something. It's really an external kind of a pressure or a desire, it doesn't really have anything to do with patient care. I mean, Wendy what has your experience been around that need for additional certification?

Wendy Vogel: I've seen it used in practices to merit bonuses, which isn't really fair when a PA does not have that opportunity to have a specialty certification per se. So, I've seen it used negatively. I'm a great believer that any additional education that you can get is beneficial.

However, I will say just like you said, if you are getting your mentoring, you have good practice, you're doing continuing education, then it's essentially the same thing. To be able to have an oncology certification, I had to practice for a year and I had to take a test that really measured what I should know after one year. And that's what a certification was for that. Is it beneficial, do I want it? Yeah, I want it. Do I have to have it to practice? No.

Todd Pickard: I think that is a great way to segue to having a brief conversation about how you bring APPs in? I mean, just at a very high level, should people expect for an APP to come in right out of school and just hit the ground running without any additional investment?

And I could ask the same question about a resident or a fellow who completes an oncology training program. Do you just put those people to work? Maybe that's an older model, and now really mentorship and that additional facilitated work is, I think, critical.

So, I'll start with Stephanie, tell us a little bit about what’s your experience been with advanced practice providers, or even young physicians as they enter the workforce? What's the role of onboarding or mentoring program?

Dr. Stephanie Williams: So, it's important. We had a set process for bringing on our new APPs and it pretty much followed the guidelines from the American Society of Cellular Transplantation in terms of the knowledge base that they would need to know.

So, it was a checklist. And we would also have them do modules from ASCO’s oncology modules, as well looking at primarily hematologic malignancies, so they could get a background there. And then we would slowly bring them on board.

Usually, they would start taking care of autologous patients, a certain subset of patients, and then move on to the more complicated patients. We did the same clinic, whether they were clinic or inpatient APPs. So, it took us about three to four months to onboard our APPs.

In terms of a fellow becoming an attending physician, I'd like to say that there's specific onboarding there. Unfortunately, sometimes they're just, ‘Okay, these are your clinic days, this is when you start.’ I mean, you’re right Todd, we really need to work more on onboarding people. So, that one, they like their jobs, they're not frustrated, and they want to stay and continue to work in this field. I see many times after two or three years, if they're not onboarded properly, they just get frustrated and want to move on to a different area.

Wendy Vogel: We know that most of the advanced practitioners who come into oncology don't have an oncology background, PA or NP.  They just don't, and we don't get a lot of that in school.

So, it takes months, it would probably, I dare say, take 12 months of full-time practice to feel comfortable in the role. But how many practices particularly in the area that I've practiced in you get this AP, and you throw them in there, and in four weeks, you're supposed to be seeing patients.

How can you make those decisions when you haven't been properly mentored? So, absolutely important to have a long onboarding time till that APP feels comfortable.

Todd Pickard: Yeah, I think that it is critically important that we set up all of our team members for success, whether they be physicians, or PAs, or nurse practitioners or nurses, or pharmacists, and I think that is the role of onboarding and mentoring, having people who will invest time and energy in what you're trying to accomplish. You know, Wendy is spot on.

Advanced practice providers have specific types of training within their educational program. As a PA, my focus in oncology was to screen for and detect it. So, to understand when a patient presents with a mass or some symptoms that may make you think that, oh gosh, maybe they've got acute leukemia or something else and looking at those white counts and, and understanding.

But that transition from identifying and screening and diagnosing cancers is very different than how do you care for specific types of tumors and specific disciplines, whether it be radiation oncology, surgical oncology, medical oncology, cancer prevention. There's a lot that folks need to be brought up to speed about the standards of what do we do in this practice and how do we care for these types of cancers? And that really is the role for the onboarding and mentoring.

You know, you may be lucky, you might get an advanced practice provider who used to work at a big academic cancer center in the same field, whether it be breast medical oncology or GI, and yeah, that's a much easier task. That person probably really needs mentoring about the local culture, how we get things done, what are the resources, and which hospitals do we refer to.

But for the most part, working with an advanced practice provider means that you've got a PA or an NP, who has a strong foundation in medical practice. They know how to care for patients, they know how to diagnose, they know how to do assessments, they know how to critically think, they know how to find resources, and they know how to educate. But they may not know how long does a robotic radical prostatectomy patient going to be in the hospital? And how long does it take to recover and what are some of the things you need to be considering in  their discharge and their postoperative period?

That is very detailed information about the practice and the local resources. Every advanced practice provider is going to need to have that kind of details shared with them through mentorship, and a lot of it is just how do we team with each other? What are the roles and responsibilities? Who does what? How do we have backup behaviors to cover folks?

So, a lot of this really is just deciding, ‘Okay, we've got a team. Who's doing what? How do they work together and how do we back each other up?’ Because at the end of the day, it's all about the team supporting each other and that's what I love about advanced practice.

Wendy Vogel: Very well said, yes. I had an AP student yesterday in clinic, who told me - I was asking about her education in oncology and what she got - and she said, ‘Well, so for lymphoma, we treat with R-CHOP. So, a student, of course, raised their hand and said, ‘What's R-CHOP? She’s like, ‘Well, the letters don't really line up with what the names of the drugs are, so, just remember R-CHOP for the boards.’

So there you go. That's kind of what a lot of our education was like specific to oncology. And again, I'm a little tongue in cheek there also. But Todd, are you going to tell everybody about the ASCO Onboarding tool that's now available?

Todd Pickard: Absolutely! ASCO has done a really great job of trying to explore what advanced practice is, and how teams work together. All of us are part of the ASCO Advanced Practice Task Force.

One of the things we did was really to look at what are some best practices around onboarding, orientation, scope of practice, and team-based cancer care, and we created a resource that is available on the ASCO website, and I think that it is a great place to start, particularly for practices, physicians, or other hospital systems that don't have a lot of experience with advanced practice.

It’s a  great reference, it talks about the difference between orientation and onboarding. It gives you examples of what those look like. It talks about what are the competencies and competency-based examinations. So, how you assess people as they're going through the onboarding period. It has tons of references, because ASCO has done a lot of great research in this field, around collaborative practice and how patients experience it, and how folks work on teams, and what do those outcomes look like.

So, I highly recommend it. Wendy, thank you for bringing that up. It's almost like you knew to suggest that.

Well, this has been a really, really good conversation. I'm wondering, what are some of those pearls of wisdom that we could all provide to the folks listening?

So, Stephanie, what are some of your observations that, you know, maybe we haven't just thought about, in your experience working as a physician with advanced practice providers?

Dr. Stephanie Williams: One, it's important to integrate them into the team, and, as Wendy mentioned, to mentor them – mentor anybody correctly, in order for them to feel that they're contributing the most that they can to the care of the patient.

I think there are other issues that we'll get into later and in different podcasts that come up that make physicians hesitant to have nurse practitioners or physician assistants. Some of those are financial, and I think we'll discuss those at a later time. But really, that shouldn't keep you from employing these particular individuals for your team. It really is a very rewarding type of practice to have. You're not alone. You're collaborating with other providers. I think it's just one of the great things that we do in oncology.

Todd Pickard: I wanted to share a moment as a PA, advanced practice provider, when I most felt grateful for the opportunity to work as an advanced practice provider. My clinical practice has been in urology for the past 24 years for the main part. I've had a few little other experiences, but mainly urology, and I'll never forget a patient who was a middle-aged lady who had been working with transitional cell bladder cancer. It was superficial. So, the treatment for that is BCG and repeat cystoscopies and surveillance. And I walked into the room and I was going to give her BCG installation, and she was so angry. I wanted to know what was going on. I thought, gosh, should I make her wait too long or something else? So, I asked her, I said, ‘How are you doing today? You seem to be not feeling well.’ And she said, ‘Well, I'm just so tired of this. I don't understand why y'all don’t just fix me. Why don't y'all just get this right? Why do I have to keep coming back?’

And as I looked at the medical record, this patient had had superficial bladder cancer for years. And I thought, ‘Has nobody ever really kind of sat down and mapped this out for her?’ So, I asked her to get off the examining table, and I pulled the little paper forward, so I had someplace to draw.

And I drew a big square and I said, ‘This is a field, just think of any big field anywhere near you. And it's full of weeds.’ And I drew some weeds on there. And I said, ‘You know we can pull them out and we can pluck them, and we can put some weed killer in that field,’ I said,  ‘do you think that if you come back in three months and there will be any weeds on that field?’ She said, ‘Of course, there will be. There are always weeds because they always come back. It's very hard to get rid of.’ And I said, ‘Well, this field is your bladder. And the type of cancer you have are like these weeds, and we have to constantly look for them, remove them, and then put this treatment down, that's why you come.’

And she started crying. And I thought, ‘Well, I've blown it.’ Because this was in the first couple of years of working as a PA in urology. And I said, ‘I'm so sorry. I really apologize.’ She said, ‘Don't you dare apologize to me.’ I said, ‘Man, I've really blown it now.’ She said, ‘Todd, I've had this disease now for this many years. This is the first time I've ever fully understood what's happening to me. I am so grateful to you.’

I will never forget this patient. I will never forget this experience. And I'm extraordinarily proud. It's not because I'm the smartest person in the world. I just happened to investigate, take the time, and I drew it out. I explained it in the simplest of terms because I wanted her to understand. And then whenever she came back, she always wanted to see me. So, it was great. I really developed a really lovely relationship with this patient. It was very rewarding.

Wendy, can you think of a story that you have about an advanced practice provider that makes you particularly happy or where some big lesson was learned?

Wendy Vogel: Yeah. I love your analogy. That's a great analogy. I think that part of what I love to do is similar to you, Todd, in that I like to make things understandable because I consider myself an East Tennessee southern simple person, I want to understand things in the language that I understand. So, I like using a language that a patient understands. I think if I was to say about some of the proudest things, or what makes me so excited about oncology is what we've seen in our lifetime.

So, Todd, you and I practice probably about the same number of years and we could say we remember when Zofran came out, and how that revolutionized chemotherapy nausea and vomiting – Stephanie's nodding here, too. We all know that.

And then wow! When we found out that we could maybe cure CML, that we're having patients live normal lives in our lifetime, that we've seen non-small cell lung cancer patients living past a year that are metastatic – Oh my gosh! This is such an exciting field and we learn something every day. There’s new drugs, there’s new treatments, there's new hope, every single day, and that's what makes me proud to be a part of that.

Todd Pickard: Yeah, I think that oncology and the work that we get to do as a team is so incredibly rewarding. It's challenging, and we have losses, but we also have wins, and those wins are amazing, and transformative, not only for us but for our patients.

So, some final pearls of wisdom. I'll share and then Wendy, I'll turn it over to you. One thing that I really want to convey to folks is to know about the state that you work in and what are the practice acts for advanced practice providers. Because, unlike our physician colleagues who have a very standard scope of practice across the country, advanced practice can drastically change from state to state and place to place even from institution to institution.

So, be aware of that, so that you can build your team-based practice around what are the constraints, what is the scope of practice, and you can comply with that. It just takes a little bit of pre-work at the beginning. It's not daunting. These things are written in English. We're all smart folks. We can understand them and we can build our teams in the right way.

So, just keep that in the back of their mind. It is not an obstacle. It's the instruction manual of how to build your team. That's all it is if you just think about it simplistically like that. So, Wendy, what's one or two things that you would say you really want our listeners to understand about advanced practice?

Wendy Vogel: I loved what you said, Todd, both of our PA Associations and our Nurse Practitioner Associations have that information online, so it's very easy to find. But I think I would say, don't be afraid to stand up for yourself as an advanced practitioner or as a physician who wants an advanced practitioner. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and your scope of practice, know what you can do, know what you can't do, know and demand the respect that you deserve. I would always say that just don't forget that ‘no’ is the first step to a ‘yes,’ and keep on trying.

Todd Pickard: I think we can all appreciate that sentiment, whether we be a PA an NP or a physician. Many times, we're advocating for our patients within our systems or our practices or with our payers or insurance providers. And yeah, sometimes you start from a place of ‘no’ and then you work until you get to that ‘yes’, or at least a compromise, if you can get to a ’maybe,’ that's a good place too. Stephanie, any particular last words of wisdom or wrap us up with our conclusion?

Dr. Stephanie Williams: Thanks, Todd and Wendy, for sharing your insights today. It’s always a pleasure chatting with you both. Stay tuned for upcoming episodes where we plan to dig deeper into the various types of APPs, how they are trained, what a day in the life looks like for an oncology APP, their scope of practice, and the importance of team-based care, especially in oncology. Thank you to the listeners as well.

Until next time.

Thank you for listening to the ASCO Education Podcast. To stay up to date with the latest episodes, please click subscribe. Let us know what you think by leaving a review. For more information, visit the comprehensive education center at education.asco.org.

 

The purpose of this podcast is to educate and inform. This is not a substitute for professional medical care and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of individual conditions.

Guests on this podcast express their own opinions, experience, and conclusions. Guest statements on the podcast do not express the opinions of ASCO. The mention of any product , service, organization, activity or therapy should not be construed as an ASCO endorsement.

 

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