Pursuing better, longer and richer lives for our patients is at the heart of our mission at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). Here, we believe our team approach, where our devoted advanced practice professionals, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, provide the best possible care for you.
While some people are familiar with these terms and team members, others may not be so clear on who exactly it is that’s helping them in their care.
Physician assistants and nurse practitioners (collectively referred to as advanced practice providers, or APPs) are integral team members who work in nearly every specialty including oncology, hematology, surgery, pain service, survivorship, palliative care, and stem cell transplant.
As a part of the multidisciplinary team, each APP works collaboratively with your doctor, nurse, and other healthcare providers, participating in all aspects of your care.
What is a physician assistant?
Our physician assistants (PA) are licensed health professionals who practice medicine in a collaborative fashion with attending physician oversight. Physician assistants are trained and authorized to make medical decisions and provide highly skilled advanced care to patients in inpatient and outpatient settings.
What is a nurse practitioner?
Advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNP) are licensed health professionals who provide care to patients across the healthcare system. In Washington state, all nurse practitioners must have at least a Master’s degree in nursing. Nurse practitioners are licensed by the state of Washington to provide highly skilled advanced care to patients in both the inpatient and outpatient setting.
What do APPs do?
As part of a multidisciplinary team, APPs perform many diagnostic, preventive, and health maintenance services including:
- Obtaining health histories and performing physical examinations
- Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests (X-rays, CT scans, blood work, and other laboratory tests)
- Performing procedures including bone marrow biopsies and lumbar punctures
- Establishing diagnoses, treating and managing patient health issues including treatment toxicities
- Performing surveillance during and post patient treatment
- Providing referrals within the healthcare system
- Prescribing medications and other therapies
- Responding to life-threatening emergencies
- Participating and collaborating in the care of patients receiving research-based treatment on clinical studies
An SCCA ARNP/PA-C is a certified physician assistant or advanced registered nurse practitioner who provides evaluation and medical management to oncology patients at SCCA. They follow patients during their chemotherapy and radiation, provide medical supportive care, postoperative care, as well as surveillance after completion of treatment. The ARNP/PA-C assesses and manages basic health needs of patients, addresses treatment toxicities, performs procedures, monitors for cancer progression or recurrence, and consults with professional peers as needed. They work collaboratively with the treatment team to coordinate care for their patients. All clinical responsibilities are performed within the scope of practice, institutional privileges and under the supervision of an attending physician.
Our mission is to improve the quality of care for patients with cancer by supporting critical issues in educational, clinical, and professional development for advanced practitioners in hematology and oncology.
APP fellowship in oncology and bone marrow transplant
Advanced Practice Provider fellows at SCCA are PA and Nurse Practitioners (NP) representing the clinicians who will care for patients with cancer and blood disorders in the future. Each fellow has completed a PA or NP training program and passed their initial board certification. Through intense clinical subspecialty training at SCCA, fellows build expertise in hematology, oncology and stem cell transplant. The APP fellows at SCCA are an integral part of a patient's multidisciplinary team, working hand-in-hand with medical and support staff to provide patient-centered care and critical insights to the patient's treatment.
Each year, SCCA accepts new APP fellows to the program. Learn more about the fellowship program and application process here.