Voices: The Eternal Fellows

The Eternal Fellows | Kelly Conley, AOCNP

While participating in SGO’s Allied Health Workshop this year in Nashville, I realized some common themes among the Advanced Practice Providers. Nashville was illuminating in many ways, from learning what a honky tonk bar entails, to the common bonds of advanced practice providers (APP). I am happy to report we share similar experiences of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Kelly_WordPress_templateLet’s start with the ugly: Electronic medical records. I believe that I can speak for all of us when I say that we are not thoroughly pleased with the amount of time we spend charting or scribing for our physician colleagues. It is, however, oddly comforting to know the pain is shared.

Next, the bad: The feeling of being a Fellow for life. We endure high expectations, intense patient care, long hours in an endless cycle that doesn’t lead to being a surgeon. But honestly I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. We fight the good fight with our patients and their families not because it’s about winning but because they are worth it.

Finally, we come to the good. All of the APPs I spoke with were extremely passionate about patient care and held fierce loyalty and respect for their physician colleagues. We are seen as a face of our practice since we spend so much time interacting with patients on a personal level. We are the consistency and comfort patients come to depend on from diagnosis and throughout the survivorship cycle.

The workshop focused on establishing and fine tuning a survivorship clinic. This is a personal quest of mine and a lot of the other APPs present. Providing the best and most comprehensive care for our survivors is paramount. Many of the tips and ideas sparked great dialogue amongst those present. We discussed barriers to funding and having access to multiple disciplines. We also shared treatment summaries and ideas about how to structure schedules were useful dialogues –something that I plan to implement within our own practice. Participants across the diverse cross section of practices represented at the conference noted the level of importance and value of an APP-run clinic.

The support and encouragement from the various physician partners was undeniable. My own physician colleague has been nothing but encouraging and supportive. She continues to be a mentor and an invaluable role model for skill and knowledge. The collaboration of a supportive and skilled physician with APPs that truly care about their patients is key to operating a successful survivorship clinic and providing the best possible care. Despite the bad and the ugly, the good is what drives this partnership, and I personally am very grateful to play a role in it.