By Guest Blogger, Alison Katus, MSN, FNP-C
I was not confident in what to expect in my new workplace. I moved cross-country to my state of birth after graduation. During my clinicals, I happily learned the routine of the rural hospital and, by the end of the year, felt comfortable with patients I saw for a second or even third time. My preceptor was mostly supportive, and the nurses were great. However, I did not get some clinical experiences, because my preceptor wasn’t comfortable with them (Women’s Health), or he was not comfortable with my trying them out in his patients (prostate exam). My school did not arrange preceptorships and limited the number of preceptors per semester. Still, to this day I feel fortunate to have gotten my experiences in a Southern, small-town, rural hospital. Gentility has its limits when it comes to clinical exploration in the pursuit of knowledge, if you know what I mean. I didn’t feel prepared for my new position in these areas. ThriveAP helped to fill in the blanks for my academic understanding of these areas.
- Clinical Expertise
ThriveAP offers classes taught by experts in their clinical areas. Topics are comprehensive to a broad range of clinical practice areas. Not only did we get current best practice information, but also the clinical pearls that provide context for practice. ThriveAP will help you recognize the rare zebra among the herds of horses. I was pleasantly surprised to learn how accessible our lecturers were when they offered their e-mail addresses, and they really mean it!
- Applicable Course Content
Course content was adaptable to my everyday clinic visits. I shamelessly copied the lecture notes and have them to this day in my office. Some I modified to hand out to patients as the most current information available, saving them valuable <and often misleading> Google searches. If you haven’t yet mastered the flow of taking a quality history, review pertinent information, forming differentials, quantifying medical decision-making to clinical and coding standards, ordering labs, medications, and preventive services, not to mention examining and educating the patient within a 20-minute span, all while the patient is talking, you will soon appreciate the leg-up ThriveAp delivers in “news you can use” for your clinical problems.
- Integrative Class Schedule
The class schedule met my needs as a busy first-year healthcare provider. While I was not able to convince my new employer (a rural hospital with financial concerns) to fund my year, I know that other facilities did for others. However, my new employer did agree to give me the time off to meet the scheduled class times.
I met some great people in the course. I have the greatest admiration for the founder of this entrepreneurial group that was so very needed to support advanced practitioners during a particularly difficult political period when the consumer community recognized such a shortage, yet there was such a vacuum in many states and the same time, a campaign against independent practice. I thank ThriveAP for recognizing the capability and needs of the advanced practice provider, and willingness to respond to a need for practical competence in individually identified areas of practice.
- Staff Responsiveness
They are always a short e-mail away. Can’t say enough about the positivity and talent of the ThriveAP staff.
- Didactic and Hands-On Learning
I earned CMEs in both areas. I was ready to tackle the common sebaceous cyst removal from Day 1 on the job. If you haven’t already learned, your first year on the job involves a steep learning curve, most of it just learning how to execute in practical terms all you have learned. Knowing how, what you need, and how to interpret what you find and how to treat is 2/3 of the challenge of finishing the task and documenting.
- Clinical Guidelines
Clinical guidelines are recognized and emphasized. You will appreciate this as you interface with the various companies who pay <or don’t> for your patients’ treatments. I have also learned that patients appreciate knowing what is recommended to improve and maintain their health as they age.
We all need help and support as advanced practice providers, and new providers need even more. I was an older nurse when I went into advanced practice. I’ve seen the transition of private practice into employee practice, which in turn, drove providers of all levels into a pace driven by profit and elements of practice still required, but no longer supported on company time. Many of us make our living on production, not salary. Our mentors are expected to teach us while themselves have little time to navigate new and more restrictive treatment and reimbursement requirements. It makes sense to take advantage of services that condense mountains of information into the very best concentration of academic knowledge, clinical pearls, and hands-on competency that will launch our confidence and success in practice. Yes, it will cost you or your organization an investment in money and two hours in time weekly for a year, but I’m here to tell you that I looked forward to each session. It was a practically painless way to keep abreast of new information, earn CMEs, get hands-on procedural experience, and network with other advanced practice providers.
One year later… I’m happy that I completed the ThriveAP residency and highly recommend it. Education changes a person’s perspective. I believe that the reason I’m successfully practicing in Family Medicine is because of all of the experiences afforded me over time. ThriveAP offered me a very practical set of diagnostic and procedural skills that I was able to translate into my visits in short order. They’re great at what they do.
Alison Katus, FNP, is a Family Nurse Practitioner who graduated from The University of Texas, Arlington, in 2107. She is married, the proud mother of a physician, and a lifelong lover and owner of German Shepherds. She practices in a rural hospital in the Pacific Northwest.