What is an Advance Practice Provider?

Patients across Intermountain Healthcare are interacting more frequently with Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) — the term used for Physician Assistants (PAs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Midwives (CNMs or CMs), and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). APPs fill various roles in both clinics and hospitals. Those connections are increasing as Intermountain hires more APPs to meet the ever-changing demands of healthcare. 

However, not everyone is familiar with APPs, and may have questions about the kind of care they’ll receive. They may wonder if an APP has the training, experience, and people skills to truly address their healthcare needs. Here are three stories of patients and their encounters with Intermountain APPs.

Meeting a Variety of Needs – Bear River Clinic, Tremonton

Kris Udy says choosing a nurse practitioner for her primary care provider was natural. Kris came from a family of nurses. Her mother, sister, and daughter are nurses. 

“I was happy when Melanie came to the clinic because the doctors were so busy, it was hard to get in to see them,” Kris says about see Melanie Hughes, NP at Bear River Clinic in Tremonton, Utah. “That was definitely an advantage.”

Nurse practitioners blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management. They bring a comprehensive perspective and personal touch to health care.

Living in a small, rural town, Kris depends on Melanie for a wide variety of healthcare needs. 

“I’ve always felt comfortable going in to see Melanie on every little thing that comes about,” she says. “She has that all-around knowledge, and I’ve never questioned that.” 

Another advantage for Kris was having a female provider with whom she could discuss women’s health issues. 

“For me it was nice to have a woman I could talk with about these things,” she says. “That’s one of the original reasons I wanted to see her.” 

Thorough, Caring, and Knowledgeable – Redrock Pediatrics, St. George

After moving from Las Vegas to Utah a few years ago, Jenn Amico started taking her kids to see Dr. Michael Marsden at Redrock Pediatrics. When Jenn’s 2-year-old son had an urgent need, she scheduled an appointment with Elijah Fielding, PA. 

Physician assistants are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. With thousands of hours of medical training, PAs are versatile and collaborative. They practice in every state and in every medical setting and specialty, improving healthcare access and quality.

As part of his job, Elijah sees patients with urgent or preventative needs. For Jenn and her son, Elijah took care of the health concerns and made a favorable impression at the same time. 

“He was very thorough, caring, and knowledgeable,” Jenn remembers. “He also made my very nervous 2-year-old comfortable."

Now when one of her four kids face an unexpected healthcare need, Jenn’s call to the clinic takes a different approach.

“I always ask to see Dr. Marsden first. No openings? Put me with Elijah!” Jenn says, adding it’s nice to know she has another trusted professional when her pediatrician is unavailable. 

Physical and Emotional Support – Legacy OB/GYN, American Fork

When Melanie Olsen first began seeing Brooke Welsh, NP, at Legacy OB/GYN in American Fork, she admits she had concerns working with a nurse practitioner instead of a doctor, but her thinking took a 180-degree turn after her initial visit.

“By the time my first appointment was done, I had totally changed my mind,” Melanie says. “Brooke was knowledgeable and familiar with infertility, made valuable suggestions, and referred me to specialists she had worked with. I had no doubt she knew what she was talking about.”

One of the things Melanie loved most about working with Brooke was that she not only met her physical needs, Brooke also provided needed emotional support. Aside from her husband, Melanie says Brooke was her number one support during her infertility struggles.

“Brooke delivered both the good and bad news, gave me hugs and cried with me,” Melanie says. “One time when we were waiting for lab results, she told me ‘I’ll check tonight and get back to you,’ and she did — in the middle of the night!”

The idea of receiving healthcare from an APP may be new to some. Whether you interact with APPs in a hospital or a clinic setting, APPs come to their role with stringent training, significant experience, and essential people skills. In fact, they undergo the same rigorous process of credentialing and privileging as their physician counterparts. Chances are good that, once you’ve made an APP connection, you will also enjoy the advantages they offer.

To find a provider near you, visit HealingForLife.com/Providers.