February 13, 2004

Center for Advanced Practice Nursing and Allied Health created

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Brenda Crews, left, senior research assistant in Biochemistry and a member of the VICB and Chaitanya S. Nirodi, former instructor in Biochemistry, are two co-authors of the PNAS paper.

Center for Advanced Practice Nursing and Allied Health created

Phone calls and emails have been pouring into the office of the director of the newly created Center for Advanced Practice Nursing and Allied Health at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Susan Cooper, M.S.N., assistant dean for Practice and Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing is handling all questions, concerns, and business related needs of Advanced Practice Nurses and Allied Health professionals, including physician’s assistants, social workers, and others in a non-physician related role at VUMC.

“There are over 200 nurse practitioners employed by the Medical Center and the School of Nursing combined and they needed a single point of contact for ensuring that they have someone to ask about the law and rules and regulations affecting their practice,” Cooper said.

The center will support the role of Allied Health professionals and Advanced Practice Nurses and help them look at new and emerging models of practice where nurses and physicians are working together to meet the needs of their patients in the best and most efficient way.

“The center will serve as a resource for these professionals, assisting with the credentialing process, creating standardized tools, templates, and processes, maintaining a database of protocols, and housing legal and regulatory information,” said Cooper.

Cooper and the center will report jointly to Bonnie Pilon, D.S.N., senior associate dean for Practice at the School of Nursing, and Marilyn Dubree, M.S.N., associate hospital director and chief nursing officer at VUMC.

“This new center will support the launching of new practice relationships through establishment of scopes of practices, agreed upon practice roles, billing arrangements, and clinician credentialing,” said Dubree. She said the center will also focus on opportunities for education, research and networking with Nurse Practitioners and other clinicians.

Pilon said the center’s creation sparked from the expanded use of advanced practice nurses and other Allied Health providers over the past five years. “A growing number of APN’s and PA’s are in billing provider roles, offering patients increased access to Vanderbilt health care. As the model evolved in both the inpatient and outpatient areas, a centralized support system needed to emerge,” said Pilon.

“There are complex regulatory issues that must be addressed by both the professionals and the institution. This new Center is designed to consolidate a great deal of ground work laid over many years by many people. APN’s/PA’s, department chairs, managers now have one place to go to gain answers and guidance,” she added.

Pilon has worked closely with Cooper for years and said her new role as administrative director of the center compliments the work she has been focusing on at the School of Nursing.

“Susan Cooper has been the Medical Center’s unofficial expert on the regulatory and compliance issues to be addressed. Many have sought her time and expertise; her new title and the new Center officially sanction the excellent work she has been doing for a number of years,” said Pilon. “Our goal is to help people figure out what problem it is they’re trying to solve,” said Cooper. “If we can do that we should be successful.” n