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    Survey: Majority of APPs perform advanced procedures

    6% of respondents report formal post-graduate urologic training

    As the United States faces a urologist shortage, physician assistants and nurse practitioners will likely play an increasingly important role in the field of urology. Now, a new survey—the first of its kind—suggests that many of those in these positions are performing advanced procedures despite lacking postgraduate urologic training.

    Lead author Joshua P. Langston, MD, told Urology Times that the findings raise important questions about the care given by these providers.

    "We have no guidelines about how many procedures they should do before they do them on their own. People are performing these procedures in a very haphazard way, being trained individually by the physicians supervising them. That leads to a lot of variety, and that's not the best way forward,” Dr. Langston said.

    Dr. Langston, instructor of urology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, launched the survey with colleagues at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The impetus for the study was the 2013 AUA Workforce Survey, which suggested that almost two-thirds of urologists have advanced practice providers (APPs) on staff, Dr. Langston said.

    "We realized we were lacking understanding about what they do and the role they do play. We needed to go straight to the source and ask them: What do you do, how many hours do you work, what settings are you in?” Dr. Langston said.

    Dr. Langston and colleagues asked 1,347 nurse practitioners and physician assistants—as identified by the AUA, Urological Association of Physician Assistants, and Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates—to answer questions in a 29-item web survey. A total of 296 people responded to the survey.

    The findings were presented at the 2016 American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress in Washington. According to Dr. Langston, the study has been accepted by Urology Practice and will appear in a future issue.

    Next: 81% perform procedures

    Randy Dotinga
    Randy Dotinga is a medical writer based in San Diego, Calif.

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