What’s the Role of an Advanced Practice Provider?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between making an appointment to see a doctor or an advanced practice provider for an office visit? 

Advanced practice providers (APPs) can help provide the same or similar health care services as many doctors. 

“All nurse practitioners in our office see patients just like any of the physicians do,” says Sara Wilson, APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse), of Premier Health Family Care of Vandalia, part of Premier Physician Network. “We have our own patient panels, but in our office specifically – and pretty much everywhere now – we see everybody’s patients. We can do just about everything that the physicians can do in the office."

As an advanced practice registered nurse, Wilson sees patients and handles their clinical problems, says Joseph Allen, MD, also of Premier Health Family Care of Vandalia. As the physician in the office, Dr. Allen is required to sign certain medical orders. But he mostly serves as a guide and support system for the APPs on the team. 

“We really have taken our approach in this office to treat them as much like any other provider,” he says. “Overall, they do essentially 95 percent of the same work that I do every day.”

Sari Bright, APRN, also of Premier Health Family Care of Vandalia, says that in Ohio, APRNs must have an agreement to collaborate with a physician. Dr. Allen fills that role for both her and Wilson.

“In this setting, it has been a huge asset to have that because there are things that I may not have seen yet or come across,” she says. “He is always there to help us in those situations, and then it allows us to work together as a team.” 

Some examples of care certified nurse practitioners (CNPs) – the type of APRNs both Wilson and Bright are – can give would include:

  • Counseling 
  • Diagnosing problems
  • Focusing on disease prevention
  • Influencing health education
  • Interpreting test results
  • Managing patients with acute illnesses
  • Managing patients with chronic illnesses
  • Promoting healthy choices
  • Providing physical exams
  • Taking histories
  • Treating problems

As a patient, you benefit from APPs because they make care more accessible. 

“I’m one person,” Dr. Allen says. “I have a limit of how much I can do and see every day.”

He explains that with Bright and Wilson in the mix, they are able to offer patients more available appointments. 

“By allowing APPs to bridge that gap a little bit – because there aren’t enough family physicians to cover those needs – we kind of can help fill that gap,” Wilson says. “We can help with a lot of care needs and things like that, which hopefully are going to keep them from getting to the point where they need to be hospitalized.”

Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.

Source: Joseph Allen, MD, Premier Health Family Care of Vandalia; APRN Sari Bright, Premier Health Family Care of Vandalia; APRN Sara Wilson, Premier Health Family Care of Vandalia