To help support professional development and education within those professions, University of South Alabama President Tony Waldrop, Ph.D., and his wife, Julee Waldrop, DNP, have established the USA Advanced Practice Providers Fund.
USA Health is the first organization in the area to start such a fund, which is focused on the roughly 130 nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives within the health system. Unlike physicians and RNs, advanced practice providers do not have a line item in the health system’s budget.
In 2017, the Waldrops helped create the Advanced Practice Provider Council, made up of at least one member from each of the APP disciplines. The council will administer the Advanced Practice Providers Fund, which can be used to bring in national speakers, develop training units, support new hires, and provide mentors for APPs in the USA Health system.
“Julee has been a phenomenal leader and mentor for APPs,” said Noelle Davis, a nurse practitioner in trauma/critical care at USA Health University Hospital. “(The fund) will empower APPs to provide patient-centered and evidence-based care to our patients.”
Nikki Chason, a nurse practitioner in neurosurgery, speaks at
the event for advanced practice providers.
Lisa Gore, a nurse practitioner in the neonatal intensive care unit at USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital, serves on the APP Council. “Dr. Julee Waldrop has been a key player in developing an organizational structure for APPs within USA Health,” Gore said. “She worked with other nurse leaders Lisa Mestas, Valerie Heinl and Beth Anderson to reach out to practicing APPs in the system to identify growth opportunities. The Advanced Practice Provider Council was formed as a result of these efforts.”
Even though the APPs are spread throughout the health system, many are isolated within their respective offices and often don’t have contact with their colleagues. Through the council and the new fund, they will be given opportunities to network and enjoy fellowship with one another, Julee Waldrop said.
The eventual goal is for the APPs to be officially integrated into USA Health’s administrative structure, like physicians and nurses already are. Julee Waldrop pointed to successful APP programs at Texas Children’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, which are fully integrated and all started with councils similar to USA’s Advanced Practice Provider Council.
Integration at those institutions offer “opportunities for advancement based on education and clinical expertise and impacts on patient outcomes and quality improvement,” she said. “Formal integration gives them more power to improve things for patients and families.”
View more photos from the Advanced Practice Providers Summer Celebration on Flickr.