The number of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs), known collectively as advanced practice providers (APPs), is projected to grow in the coming decade in response to the physician shortage and the rise of team-based health care (1). Through market research and engagement with the GI community, AGA has identified a critical need for resources to support APPs working in the GI practice setting. Limited GI-specific training is available for new APP graduates; thus, practices are seeking standardized onboarding education to fill the knowledge gap for those new to GI. Continuing GI education is also needed for APPs to obtain the latest medical knowledge and to fulfill state and national license renewal requirements. AGA is engaging with industry partners to develop educational resources for APPs within the GI health care team, such as an on-demand web series on pharmacology in IBD supported by Gilead Sciences, Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.

Prescribing drugs is an integral role of many APPs in GI. Over 95 percent of NPs prescribe medications; those in full-time practice average 20 prescriptions per day (2), yet NPs struggle to find GI-focused pharmacology education. National NP recertification, required by most states, includes a mandatory 25 pharmacology hours every five years. AGA is currently working on a three-part webcast series on IBD pharmacotherapeutics to help meet this need.

Furthermore, GI practices have experienced increased revenue, greater patient satisfaction, more effective patient education, and better physician work, life, balance by incorporating APPs in their health care team (3). However, knowledge of effective practice management and extensive training are needed to derive these benefits. Typically, the onboarding process can span approximately 1.5 years or longer for those new to GI, based on research conducted with GI practices. Despite the on-the-job training commitment required for new APPs in GI, no formalized resources currently exist to facilitate this education. AGA is working to centralize resources for APPs including clinical decision support tools and on-demand content from AGA’s Principles of GI for the NP and PA course and the AGA Postgraduate Course. AGA has identified content gaps in learning for this audience and we will continue to develop new learning opportunities for APPs in the GI field. Team-based care has been shown to reduce physician burnout, improve patient satisfaction and increase revenue. However, challenges remain for effectively integrating APPs into the GI health care team to achieve these benefits.

AGA is committed to educating practices and developing new resources for APPs. These tools will be valuable to those new to GI practice as well as the seasoned practitioner seeking to remain current on GI care. Ultimately, this initiative will help APPs build a fundamental knowledge base and assist GIs in creating a more efficient, profitable practice.

Interested in supporting AGA as we develop and disseminate resources for APPs? Contact us to learn about available opportunities.

(1) Auerbach, D.I. et al. “Growing Ranks of Advanced Practice Clinicians – Implications for the Physician Workforce.” N Engl J Med 2018; 378:2358-2360 doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1801869

(2) Moses R.E., McKibbin R.D. “Non-physician clinicians in GI practice part 2: current status and utilization.” Am J Gastroenterol 2017; 112: 530 – 31. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2017.20

(3) American Association of Nurse Practitioners NP Fact Sheet: accessed March 3, 2019 at: https://www.aanp.org/about/all-about-nps/np-fact-sheet