By Kim Zuber, PAC, and Jane Davis, DNP
The ‘typical’ nephrology advanced practitioner (physician assistant, nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist) is a 50-something white female with a master’s degree who has been in her present job for the last 10 years. Such is the result of the 2012 National Kidney Foundation (NKF) survey completed in June.
This biennial survey is distributed online to nephrology APs throughout the United States. Over 285 APs (a response rate of 80 percent) answered the detailed questionnaire to give us a complete picture of the nephrology AP in the United States.
APs are found in all aspects of nephrology practice. Close to 90 percent of the APs do weekly hemodialysis rounds, split almost evenly between Fresenius Medical Care (FMC) and DaVita (62 percent and 58 percent respectively). However, only 42 percent of the nephrology APs see/manage home patients (home hemo and peritoneal dialysis), although we expect this percentage to increase in the coming years.
Close to half of the nephrology APs have some type of hospital responsibility, while three-fourths of all APs see patients in the office Building on the Kidney Disease Education program, the request for nephrology APs to instruct at nurse practitioner (NP) and physician assistant (PA) programs and the lecture opportunities offered by NKF, close to 60 percent of nephrology APs have some type of education component in their job description.
Nearly one-fourth of all APs participate in research, almost equal to the percentage that has some type of administration responsibilities. There are small groups in both interventional nephrology (7 percent) and private industry (7 percent).
The breakdown of jobs within each site shows a bias towards patient care and not administration.
For example, the majority of the APs who report working in the hospital do rounds, consults, history, and physicals, while only 5 to 6 percent are involved in hospital commit tees and/or peer review.
In the dialysis units, over 80 percent of APs do weekly rounds but less than 15 percent handle the 2728s; this is also true for APs in peritoneal dialysis (PD).