Allison E. Wynes, ACNP, FCCP, an acute care nurse practitioner (NP) at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, will lead a discussion on training physician assistants (PAs) and NPs to care for critically ill patients in the ICU. She will chair the interactive session ICU Ready: Training Your New PA/NP to be a Competent Critical Care Provider Sunday at 2:15 pm in the convention center, room 213A. Daily News caught up with Wynes for some insight into the session’s topic.
Why are NP/PA programs focused on ICU care limited across the country?
While there has been a rise in acute care NP programs over the last several years, those focusing specifically on critical care are still few and far between. PA programs are typically general medicine based. Some students in either program may elect to do an ICU rotation, but there is no standard.
Why is it important NPs and PAs receive extra training for the ICU?
Since PAs and NPs typically do not receive training in critical care, it’s vital that those hiring a new grad NP or PA take the time to invest and train these people to be competent providers. Many of them will come with great knowledge base or skills from either school or having previously been a bedside ICU nurse. However, in order to be successful, the provider will benefit from additional training that goes beyond their primary care or internal medicine training. We also have faced some challenges integrating NPs/PAs into teaching environments in a meaningful way that can also benefit the trainee physicians. Progress in this area will be discussed as well.
What skills do they need to be trained in?
Most new graduate NPs and PAs will benefit from additional training in assessing and treating shock states, respiratory failure and vent management, central line placement, and point of care ultrasound.
How do you identify a candidate?
When I’m hiring, I’m looking for someone who has a critical care background either in nursing or as an internship/clinical experience during his/her education. If a candidate does not have ICU experience, but has relevant inpatient experience, that person can often be trained to be a successful ICU provider. Someone who has gone through a postgraduate critical care fellowship or residency is also a bonus.
Why are you passionate about training PAs and NPs?
Along with my medical director, I have been growing an ICU NP practice over the past several years. Education for NPs and PAs in critical is growing, but still lacking. Every time I hire a new graduate, I know I need to take their previous work experience and educational background into consideration while training them. I worry for those novice NPs and PAs who are thrown into a new ICU job without any additional training. I believe NPs and PAs do belong in the ICU and given the right investment in training, will be an invaluable part of the ICU team.