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VIDEO: Advanced practice providers take on many roles in MS care



– A new survey suggests that advanced practice providers who care for multiple sclerosis patients are highly satisfied with their jobs, which encompass a wide range of responsibilities.

Researchers received survey responses from 215 nurse practitioners and 395 physician assistants who answered Web questionnaires in 2016 and 2017. Of those who care for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, 92.5% and 77.8% respectively said they provide at least 9 of 11 services, such as direct care, supportive services, and care coordination.

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“Nurse practitioners in particular are providing lots of different services from diagnosis to education to symptom management,” said Michael T. Halpern, MD, PhD, MPH, of Temple University, Philadelphia. “Physician assistants are also providing a diverse range of MS services, but not as frequently as nurse practitioners.”

Dr. Halpern was the presenting author of the study reporting the survey results. He spoke in a video interview at ACTRIMS Forum 2018, held by the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, where the study findings were presented.

Advanced practice providers also reported high levels of job satisfaction. About 80% in both groups reported being very or extremely satisfied with their careers and with their colleagues; 90% of nurse practitioners reported being very or extremely satisfied by their relationships with patients, as did 86% of physician assistants.

The providers “appear to really enjoy working with individuals with MS,” Dr. Halpern said. But he cautioned that there’s a need for additional training for these providers; some respondents said their lack of knowledge was a hindrance to care.

The study was funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Dr. Halpern reported no relevant disclosures.

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