NPs and PAs Are Key Players on the Multi-Disciplinary Healthcare Teams

Advanced Practice providers are positioned to succeed in team-based workplaces, improving patient care.

NPs and PAs on Care Teams
As a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, you are an important part of care teams and the future of medicine.

As we enter a new age in healthcare, experts believe that traditional staffing models will no longer be enough to provide safe, effective, and efficient patient care. The good news is that alternative, strategic, and team-focused collaborations, such as care teams, are proving successful. These new models, focused on multi-disciplinary teams, open more career opportunities to providers, such as nurse practitioners (NP) and physician assistants (PA), who specialize in delivering coordinated care.

A New Model for Healthcare

A review by the National Institutes of Health asserts that multidisciplinary in-hospital teams are consistently more effective and deliver better patient outcomes than more traditional hospital structures with staff organized in “silos.” One reason, according to author Nancy Epstein, is the enhanced communication between the different levels of healthcare workers (which often include nurses’ aids, surgical technicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, attending physicians, and others.)1

This is especially true for providers like nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who are well suited to a team-based approach due to their advanced education and clinical experience.

Teams of providers and residents, in collaboration with the attending physician, will be the new “Hybrid Model of Care,” according to Joshua Koch, MD, Medical Director2 of the CICU at the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Koch spoke at the 2013 Pediatric Critical Care Colloquium and asserted that to ensure quality medical care into the future, hospitals must utilize nurse practitioners and physician assistants in new roles.

Ways to Identify an Effective Team-Based Workplace

Enacting change in a complicated healthcare system takes time. However, at Melnic Consulting Group, we are seeing hospitals increasingly move in the direction of multi-disciplinary team structures. We encourage NPs, PAs, and CNSs to look for positions with employers who recognize their unique skill set and support team-work and collaboration. Signs of a team-based workplace include the following:

Clear role definition and expectations

  • Adequate staffing and reasonable workloads
  • Competitive compensation packages
  • Clearly-defined expectations

Formal orientation programs/training

  • Professional development opportunities
  • Mentoring programs
  • Formal orientation for new grads

Collaborative, team-environment

  • Strong bi-directional communication among staff, administration, and leadership
  • Shared priority at all staffing levels to deliver optimal patient care and outcomes
  • Mutual respect and professional courtesy among staff

Support for NP and PA Roles

  • A “seat at the table” to participate in leadership and decision-making opportunities
  • Clear role definition and autonomy and authority communicated to all levels and team members

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants who are collaborative, solution oriented, and confident in their roles are in high demand. As hospital staffing models shift, more and more career opportunities will open for NPs and PAs who are ready to work as part of a multi-disciplinary care team.

The team at Melnic is here to support you and your nursing career development. If you are looking for a new Pediatric Nurse Practitioner job, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner job, or Nursing Leadership job, please join our network.

  1.  Epstein, Nancy. Multidisciplinary In-Hospital Teams Improve Patient Outcomes: A review. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health website. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4173201/ Published August 28, 2016. Accessed April 22, 2016.
  2. Staff Profile Joshua Koch, MD. UT Southwestern Medical Center website. http://profiles.utsouthwestern.edu/profile/60994/joshua-koch.html. Accessed April 22, 2016.