By Jeri Townsend, APRN-CNP
Medicine in all subspecialties is congested with more paperwork and management activities in an effort to meet the requirements placed by insurance companies and federal initiatives to ensure patients are receiving excellent preventive care. The electronic medical record consumes an extensive amount of the provider’s time and as a result, face-to-face time takes a hit. How can a physician maximize their time doing managerial paperwork and reviewing test results while still spending quality time speaking and treating the patient? Advanced practice providers fill a void to assist physicians with patient care.
Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are one of several advanced practice providers. Most advanced practice providers complete a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree with some completing a doctorate as well. In orthopedics, NPs assist the surgeon with seeing patients, reviewing labs or imaging results, making orders, fulfilling billing and other managerial paperwork behind the scenes, and even assisting in surgery. The goal is to improve patient flow through the clinic and improve patient care overall.
As an NP, I have had the joy of working in many areas of orthopedics. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma as an Nurse Practitioner in 2001 after being a registered nurse in orthopedic surgery assisting in every type of case, from a routine carpal tunnel release to trauma. Prior to coming to Tulsa Bone and Joint, I worked at a different orthopedic group as a general orthopedic NP but also specialized in sports medicine and total joint surgeries along with hand and fracture care. I also ran the organization’s osteoporosis clinic. In 2017, I was able to join the greatest orthopedic group in the region here at TBJA when I joined the hand team with Dr. Childe and Dr. Mokhtee. I also help cover the Tulsa Bone and Joint Urgent Care when the need arises.
Advanced practice providers are not a substitute for your surgeon in orthopedics here at TBJ. Our physicians are directly involved in every patient’s care; however, NPs and physician assistants (PAs) are here to help improve overall patient care by assisting the physician in any way necessary. Interestingly enough, I have come full circle. The surgeons who taught me orthopedics at St. John Medical Center back in 1992 as a nurse are the same surgeons who started Tulsa Bone and Joint.