Skills Workshops for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

If there’s one thing I was disappointed about in my nurse practitioner education, it was the lack of hands-on training when it comes to performing procedures, reading X-Rays, and the like.  I hoped the thousands of dollars I spent on my NP program would have taught me to suture like a champ.  But, like me, many nurse practitioner students find themselves graduating still suturing amateurs and inexperienced EKG-readers.  Fortunately, some companies have recognized this gap and offer skills workshops for NPs and PAs.

Wherever you are in your NP or PA education or career, attending a skills workshop can enhance your know-how.  If you are currently a student, a hands-on workshop can help you build a foundation for the basic skills you will need in practice.  If you are an experienced nurse practitioner making a transition to another specialty, working on specific techniques like X-Ray reading or EKG interpretation can help facilitate a smooth transition to your new specialty.

While traditional continuing education conferences do offer some skills learning opportunities, attending a course focused specifically on your weaker practice areas is the best way to learn procedures and other skills. The following workshops for nurse practitioners and physician assistants offer such focused educational opportunities.

Practitioner Education Associates

I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Denise Ramponi’s tagline Skills + Education = Confidence.  Practitioner Education Associates (PEA) offers hands-on, interactive workshops covering procedural skills.  From suturing and X-Ray interpretation to splinting and 12-lead EKG interpretation, PEA provides the skills-specific training many nurse practitioners lack.

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National Procedures Institute

The National Procedures Institute (NPI) is serious about providing quality education when it comes to teaching procedures.  The company offers courses on topics like suturing, joint exam and injections, X-Ray interpretation, and dermatological and aesthetic procedures.  Many of NPI’s offerings are also available for providers of varying skill sets, for example “Basic Suturing” and “Advanced Suturing and Wound Repair“.

National Institute of First Assisting

Founded with the mission of training non-MD personnel, the National Institute of First Assisting (NIFA) is focused on helping NPs and PAs as well as perioperative and first-assist nurses become SutureStars.  Conferences are either three or six days in length and are held in cities across the country.

Association of Family Practice Physician Assistants

The Association of Family Practice Physician Assistants (AFPPA) offers a wealth of hands-on workshops.  Although the AAFP is focused on physician assistants, NPs can enroll in courses as well.  Course offerings include, but are not limited to, 12-lead EKG interpretation, dermatology procedures, joint and soft tissue injections, and suturing techniques.

American Academy of Procedural Medicine

The American Academy of Procedural Medicine (AAPM) has graduated over 25,000 students from their informative workshops.  Course offerings come in three categories; aesthetic training, medical workshops, and pain management workshops.  AAPM’s aesthetic workshops cover content from Botox training to cosmetic laser technologies.  Medical workshops train students on topics like allergy testing and anti-aging medicine.  Finally, pain management workshops cover subjects such as pain management procedures and joint injections.  Courses are offered across the country making them convenient for attendees.

National Medical Conferences

If you are attending a conference sponsored by an NP, PA, or physician organization, chances are that procedure and skills courses will be offered.  Often, these workshops are an additional charge and require prompt registration as they fill up quickly.

Training in procedures and other medical skills like X-Ray reading and EKG interpretation are essential for your practice.  If you feel that your NP program and on-the-job training haven’t provided you with a comprehensive education, a hands-on workshop is the perfect way to supplement your training.

Have you attended a skills workshop?  Which workshops would you recommend to other NPs and PAs?


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13 thoughts on “Skills Workshops for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants”

  1. Great, this was very helpful! I notice that you do pieces on certain nurse practitioner specialties like pediatrics, FNP, Emergency nurse practitioners, but nothing on nurse midwives, which is also an advanced masters degree nursing specialty. I’m considering becoming one and it would be really great if you did some blog posts on nurse midwifery.

  2. Hi Julia,

    Thanks for the feedback! I will work on getting some posts together on midwifery. Consider it on my “To Do” list! 

  3. I would love an article on the economics of some of these courses. I would love additional procedural education, and am a student. I want to know where the most value is for the dollar for these courses. (suturing, I&D, intubation, lines, EKG) Please

  4. Hi Julia,

    Great question! Let me work on putting together a blog post addressing these questions. I hope to get it out this week. 

  5. Can you please offer a skills workshop on suturing, ekgs, and X-ray interpretation in southern oregon and Southern California ?


  6. Have you heard of any workshops that focus exclusively on wound care, including incision and drainage or debridement? I accepted a position as a hospital wound NP and have several years of wound care experience but I am not comfortable with the deeper I&D and extensive debridements they seem to see a lot of here.

  7. Can anyone give recommendations for basic EKG and reading x-ray conference or online review. Thank you

    Brandi Foree AGNP-BC

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