LETTER: Emory Hospital Medicine’s Growth Sparks Establishment of NP, PA Career Track


Due to many reasons, the healthcare paradigm has shifted, dictating alternative staffing models to manage the burgeoning inpatient census of hospital-based physicians. Herein, we will briefly describe the Emory University Division of Hospital Medicine (EDHM) approach to utilizing advanced practice providers (APPs) in the care of inpatients and summarize key components of the program that improve sustainability for providers.

The EDHM in Atlanta matriculated APPs into its service in 2004. Currently, there are 22 APPs across all Emory HM sites. The largest group is at Emory University Hospital Midtown (EUHM).

At EUHM, the addition of a renal service created concern for increased workload for the physicians. APPs were recruited to bridge the gap in 2011. Initially, the role was ill-defined, but over time, with physician and administrative leadership buy-in and support, the role has evolved. Currently at EUHM, APPs are practicing in other HM services, allowing them to practice near or at the top of their scope of practice. The 12 hospitalist APPs at EUHM practice in four roles: nocturnist, frontline provider in the observation unit, dedicated renal service, and generalist on an overflow team.

Along with the rapid growth of APPs on the service came the need for structured leadership, improved onboarding procedures, competency maintenance, advocacy, and professional development activities. Essentially, we needed to create a career track parallel to that of the physicians without compromising the portion of our scopes of our practice that overlap (i.e., patient care) while supporting our regulatory differences.

The professional development plans incorporated findings from APP exit interviews at the University of Maryland Medical Center highlighting the following retention issues:1

  1. Length of time for credentialing
  2. Role clarity
  3. Inadequate clinical orientation
  4. Feelings of clinical incompetence
  5. Feelings of isolation

With the instillation of APP leadership, the team created a comprehensive APP program. The Hospital Medicine APP program at EUHM includes the following components:

  • APP representation at monthly clinical operation meetings and quarterly education council meetings to ensure that APP competency and regulatory issues are always represented.
  • Orientation personally tailored to the APP’s level of clinical expertise, with a post-orientation meeting with leadership and remediation, if needed.
  • APP incentives to teach NP or PA students, conduct in-services, join committees, or participate in other leadership opportunities.
  • APPs invited to attend and/or present at all divisional small and large group learning opportunities (e.g., Grand Rounds, Lunch and Learn, Journal Club).
  • APPs allocated time and space to meet and discuss practice issues.
  • Newly developed Mini-Hospitalist Academy, which offers monthly workshops to all hospitalist physicians and APPs, from novice to expert.
  • Dedicated APP Ongoing Professional Performance Evaluation (OPPE) program.
  • In addition to the annual monetary support offered for educational opportunities, the division offers an annual Faculty Development Award. This award is by application for eligible educational opportunities; APPs are welcome to apply and have consistently been awarded support to pursue myriad opportunities.

This successful APP-physician collaboration is driven by a committed group of professionals who are sensitive to the shifting healthcare paradigm. Our APPs and physicians are constantly adapting their practice so that our collaboration is safe, evidence-based, and professionally fulfilling. TH

Yvonne Brown, DNP, MSN, ACNP-C, FNP-C, nurse practitioner, lead advanced practice provider, Division of Hospital Medicine, Emory Healthcare, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Atlanta


1. Bahouth MN, Esposito-Herr MB. Orientation program for hospital-based nurse practitioners. AACN Adv Crit Care. 2009;20(1):82-90.

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