How Can Advanced Practice Providers Help Bridge the Urology Workforce Gap?

Value-Based Care

How Can Advanced Practice Providers Help Bridge the Urology Workforce Gap?

"The hope is that we can all work together as a team with the physician so that we are ultimately helping provide better patient care and access to treatment options."

One way to address the shortage of urologists in healthcare facilities is by implementing the use of advanced practice providers, or APPs.

So said Janelle Bunce, a nationally certified physician assistant at the Advanced Urology Institute, during a recent episode of the Speaking of Urology podcast. APPs can help provide access to patient care sooner for new patients who might otherwise have to wait several months for a patient consultation with a urologist.

"The hope is that we can all work together as a team with the physician so that we are ultimately helping provide better patient care and access to treatment options," Bunce said. Janelle Bunce

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants can also perform some urology procedures with the right training from a physician supervisor.

There are few things to consider for urologists still trying to figure out how they can incorporate the talents of a nurse practitioner or physician assistant into their practice. These include setting a precedent for standardized training, Bunce said.

Urologists who invest their time and effort into developing APPs can reap significant benefits. She highlighted three distinct advantages of integrating APPs into a urology practice. 

  • APPs can help reduce physician burnout.
  • They can also make decisions and collaborate with others to enhance access to patient care.
  • They can also help prolong a physicians' career, thus addressing a shortage of urologists.

"In 2019, there were approximately 13,000 urologists — that's 3.9 urologists for every 100,000 people, and there are approximately 311 new urologists entering the workforce every year," Bunce said.

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