Advanced practice providers play key role in cancer care

Brandon Sterling’s first week as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) was a crash course in collaboration. As a newly credentialed advanced practice provider (APP) on a busy unit, he was tasked with transferring a post-operative urology patient who had a stroke to a nearby hospital. “I was working with the family, case manager, social worker, nursing team, attending physician, insurance company and receiving hospital. I was doing what I needed to do to ensure the whole patient received the care needed as quickly as possible,” Sterling says. This connector role appealed to Sterling, now an acute care nurse practitioner in MD Anderson’s intensive care unit. It enabled him to wear many hats, make sure others had the information they needed and take action to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. Advanced practice providers play key role in patient care MD Anderson has more than 850 advanced practice providers, which include approximately 312 physician assistants, 448 advanced practice registered nurses and 95 certified registered nurse anesthetists. They manage about 325,000 autonomous patient encounters each year and share another estimated 250,000 encounters with physicians. “Nurses and physicians recognized a need in care coordination around the same time,” explains Todd Pickard, director of our Physician Assistant Program. As the volume of practice expanded for both professions in the 1960s, there was room for a third group that could take on aspects of both roles, reducing stress on the system and meeting patient needs with the right level of care.  “MD Anderson’s advanced practice providers run survivorship, fast track and procedure clinics across the institution and are critical partners in our...