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Healthcare Teams: NPs and PAs are Key Players

Posted on January 18, 2021   |   by   |   Advanced Practice Structure, Communication Skills, Employers, Healthcare Teams

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

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 healthcare 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 healthcare 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.

According to MGMA:

“APPs will play critical role with the shift to value-based care:

    • A team-based approach is proven to boost quality and efficiency and lower costs, and Advanced Practice Providers (APPs -APRNs and PAs) utilization is a key component in those staffing models.
    • Value-based care programs by CMS and commercial payers will be heavily influenced by APPs both today and well into the future with the continued end goal of cost reduction while maintaining and improving upon the care provided.”

Healthcare teams of providers and residents, in collaboration with the attending physician, will be the new “Hybrid Model of Care,” according to Joshua Koch, MD, Division Chief of Critical Care at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. 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 Healthcare Team-Based Workplace

Enacting change in a complicated healthcare system takes time. However, at Melnic for APRNs and PAs, 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

Formal orientation programs/training

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

According to Dr. Scheurer, a hospitalist and chief quality officer at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, in her article, “The role of NPs and PAs in hospital medicine programs,” she describes several APP models for integration into the hospitalist team.  The second model utilizes APPs as the primary provider and biller for patients care with the physicians as backup when needed.  “This hits the “sweet spot,” utilizing the right provider with the right skill set for the right patient.”

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 APPs in their career journey with tips and job opportunities.

Join the Melnic Network!
Text – Melnic to 415-997-2219

Find APP jobs @jobs.melnic.com

Hiring managers contact Jill Gilliland, Jill@melnic.com for help with searches for highly qualified candidates.


  1. Kleinpell RM, Ely EW, Grabenkort R. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the intensive care unit: an evidence-based review. Crit Care Med. 2008 Oct;36(10):2888-97. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e318186ba8c. PMID: 18766097.
  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.

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