A nurse practitioner must be a registered nurse (RN) who then returns for university training in advanced practice nursing. NPs subsequently obtain a distinctive license from the nursing board. Physician Assistants often have, but are not required to have, prior ancillary medical experience before entering their university training program. PAs are licensed by the state medical board. Both NPs and PAs are licensed to prescribe medications, order lab, x-ray, MRI, physical therapy etc. Both may review results and make recommendations and provide patient education. Both have some restrictions on prescribing narcotics. Both are required to have continuing education to maintain their license. At AARA, NP’s and PA’s have a very similar role.
At AARA, the APC’s work in collaboration with the physicians to provide quality patient care. On the first visit, one will usually see both an APC and a physician. The APC will obtain your health history and then introduce you to your rheumatologist and present your history. This is very effective because often times as patients listen to their history and symptoms they realize they have left something important out. During this discussion of your symptoms you have the opportunity to add comments and make sure both the APC and your doctor have the true picture of your symptoms and concerns. The doctor will then perform a physical exam and make recommendations. The APC will then get you set up with the needed prescriptions, lab orders etc. Every attempt is made to schedule your 2nd visit directly in with your rheumatologist so you can discuss all the results of your tests etc. Future visits may rotate between the APC and your physician although your physician will direct your plan of care at all times.
At AARA, we maintain a team approach with you, your doctor, the APC, and a medical assistant working together to implement your care. We feel this provides you with the best possible access to all your rheumatologic care needs.