Optimizing the integration of advanced practitioners in a department of surgery: An operational improvement model

Laura J. Torbeck, Melissa Hockaday, Cecelia Smith, Gary Dunnington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) have established themselves as key members of the healthcare team to supplement practicing physicians in patient care. PAs and NPs are collectively referred to as “advanced providers” (APs) and work not only in primary care but in general surgery and surgical subspecialties. Studies have addressed AP integration into the profession of medicine and have examined cost and efficacy of APs, attitudes about APs among residents, and educational impact of APs, but very little literature exists that describes a formalized approach to AP integration into a department of surgery, specifically with AP/resident integration. The purpose of this paper is to describe an initiative for developing an operational improvement model for APs working with residents on surgical inpatient services in a large academic health center. The model consists of four components and each component is described in detail from discovery state towards continuous improvement. Formal professional development opportunities for APs as well as appointing a Clinical Director for Surgical APs have positively impacted AP integration into the department of surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-604
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019



  • Integration
  • Model
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physician assistant
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Cite this