There’s an APP for That: Advanced Practice Providers Offer Access to Excellent Care 

Date: Jul 17, 2023

There are many reasons you might consider scheduling an appointment with one of Emory Healthcare’s advanced practice providers, also known as APPs—whether you’re visiting for an annual checkup, not feeling well, or simply have a medical issue you’d like to discuss with a provider

What Is an APP?

Chances are, you’ve heard the term: advanced practice provider. But maybe you’re not sure who they are or what they do. Well, advanced practice providers can be nurse practitioners (NPs) or physician assistants (PAs). Both have extensive medical education and training. 

“Nurse practitioners and physician assistants team up with our doctors to make sure you get excellent care—when you need it,” explains Marlis Dunlap, DNP, FNP-C, BC-ADM, chief of advanced practice providers for Emory at LaGrange. “At some Emory Healthcare locations, our APPs are responsible for their own schedule of patients. We see patients all day long, listen to their concerns, provide care and offer great health information.”

Watch to learn more about Emory Healthcare’s APP care model and treatment options:

watch video

How Do Advanced Practice Providers Care for You?

Both nurse practitioners and physician assistants can:

  • Diagnose and treat medical conditions
  • Prescribe medication
  • Order tests and review results
  • Help you manage chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and asthma
  • Help you set goals to improve your health
  • Offer practical advice about how to achieve your health goals 

Advanced practice providers also perform on-call duty shifts to answer pressing health questions, even after regular office hours. When not providing direct patient care, APPs maintain health charts to keep your medical history up to date.

Faster Access, Plus Time To Talk

Sometimes it’s easier to get appointments with advanced practice providers than with medical doctors. If your primary care physician is booked on a particular day, chances are an advanced practice provider is available to see you. Also, APPs often have more time to spend with you during your office visit. 

“We try to take a few extra minutes to really listen to our patients and make sure they know their good health is important to us,” says Marlis. “Our nurse practitioners and physician assistants go out of their way to provide attentive and compassionate care.”

As an example, Marlis enjoys helping patients manage their diabetes. During visits, she takes extra time to talk with her patients and figure out how to keep their blood sugar level in the healthy range. 

“I learned diabetes backward and forward. I get to know my patients and create individualized care plans to address everything from nutrition, to exercise, to medication,” explains Marlis. “I find out what they like to eat and give them good substitutes so they don’t feel everything is taken away from them. I also recommend fun exercises and activities to keep their blood sugar at a safe level. But if a patient has knee problems and can’t walk, I try to find other activities. And I try to find diabetes medications that won’t interfere with any other health issues they may have.”

What Medical Training Does an Advanced Practice Provider Have?

After college, physician assistants go to an accredited PA program and earn a master’s degree in medical science and physician assistant studies. PA degree requirements vary, but many programs include at least three years of classroom instruction and extensive in-hospital work with direct patient care.

Nurse practitioners have a wide range of nursing experience. They are registered nurses who’ve also earned a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). 

Both physician assistants and nurse practitioners can serve as your primary care provider or specialize in other medical areas, such as internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery or emergency care. For example, some PAs assist doctors in cardiovascular or orthopedic surgery. Both professions require certifications and a state license. 

Wondering What Your Doctor Thinks of APPs?

At Emory Healthcare, physicians use what we call a “care team model” to treat medical issues and take good care of you. The care team model includes your primary care doctor and advanced practice providers, both physician assistants and nurse practitioners. So, your doctor views advanced care providers as important members of your care team. If you need additional care from a medical doctor or a specialist, our advanced practice providers can refer you.

There’s an APP for You 

At Emory Healthcare, we offer outstanding care that’s convenient, too. Each member of your care team—whether a medical doctor or advanced practice provider—will focus on helping you feel better and stay well.

“We give excellent patient care,” says Marlis. “We provide evidence-based care, and we have excellent outcomes for our patients. Our patients are very happy and satisfied.” 

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment, call 404-778-7777. Or you can schedule your appointment online.

Schedule your appointment today.

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