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Nurse practitioners and physician assistants bring expertise to clinics

Marian Diamond, FNP

Primary care in the United States isn’t what it used to be. The old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” tells the story of how people historically approached healthcare. They kept the doctor away until there was a problem.

Today, many Americans are much more focused on wellbeing, shifting the focus of primary care to wellness and preventive care, not just sick care. This shift has also brought with it expansion of the care teams within clinics.

Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) bring new and complementary knowledge to the healthcare setting. Their expertise allows them to partner with patients as their primary healthcare provider in creating health and lifestyle plans specific to patients’ needs.

The mix of physicians, NPs and PAs creates an environment where different skills and knowledge can be learned and shared in an innovative care model. 

“Our clinics are staffed with doctors, nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants who all bring different perspectives, experience and knowledge to our team,” said Celeste Scalf, NP and Director of Primary Care for Northern Arizona Healthcare.

NAH began using this model in its clinics several years ago, and it allows for the healthcare system to provide more access to care and availability of appointments to community members. There is a shortage of primary care providers across the country, and NPs and PAs are helping to fill the gap.  Both NPs and PAs have demonstrated the ability to provide high-quality healthcare consistently while offering a unique and caring relationship with their patients. 

To learn more about the nurse practitioners and physician assistants who provide care as part of the NAH team, visit the Care Team section on each our outpatient clinic microsites.