Have you been to your urologist's office lately? You might have seen experts, who are not medical doctors (MDs), giving advice and care. These groups of people are often called allied health professionals, or allied health experts.
In honor of National Group Practice Week, let's take a closer look at "who's who" inside a common urologist's office. Allied health experts are members of the urological healthcare team. Their roles include the diagnosis, treatment and care of urological problems. They allow patients to get more private time with providers, and may include:
Physician Assistants (PAs)
Urological nursing staff may consist of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APNs). LPNs are often educated in a program that may last from 9 to 24 months. They work closely with RNs, APNs, PAs and urologists, helping give care to patients. RNs, which have associate or bachelor degrees, give nursing care to patients and work with APNs, PAs and urologists to help patients.
The two types of APNs working in urology are Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and Nurse Practitioner (NP). The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) says all NPs must get a master's or doctoral degree. They must also have advanced clinical training beyond the first time they got trained as a nurse.
Another group of healthcare providers you might see are PAs. The American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA) says a PA is certified by the nation and state as a licensed medical professional. PAs have a bachelor's degree but many also get a master's degree. PAs must pass their boards to practice and be re-tested every 6 years to stay certified.
Did You Know?
The urological healthcare team works under the supervision of the urologist, and their scope of practice (what they can do) is decided by state law. Check out these websites for more facts: