Your team of healthcare providers probably includes a movement disorder specialist, a general practitioner, maybe a speech or even physical therapist. How often do you consider the advanced practice providers (APP) involved in your care? APPs are health care providers who are not physicians but perform medical activities typically performed by a physician and are most commonly a nurse practitioner or physician assistant.
I have been working at the Scripps Clinic Parkinson’s Disease Movement Disorders Center in San Diego and an NP for 15 years. What I find fascinating about my job is that there is something new to learn every day. Patients with movement disorders are so complex! And because of that, I have always tried to push the boundaries beyond the regular 8 to 5 role I have as an NP.
I have helped some of the patients I have worked with to reach new heights by climbing mountains from Everest to Kilimanjaro, to the Andes mountains and treks in Spain. I have helped create Parkinson’s boot camps and cruises, and picnics that focus on deep brain stimulation so patients can come together and share their perspectives on these treatments. I do this because I care deeply about my patients, and I want them to live their lives fully despite living with a movement disorder. I know my fellow APPs share in my passion and our commitment to our patients across the spectrum of movement disorders is complex, intense, and rewarding. We take a holistic view of the patient, their disease, and their entire family unit that is impacted and we truly walk the journey with them.
Our dedication to the education and support of our families is integral to our professional community as NPs and PAs. One thing I am deeply proud of and moved by is that many APPs I work with are also incredibly dedicated to their own education to better help their patients.
Up until now, there have been very few resources that existed specifically for APPs in movement disorders. PMD Alliance is changing that by providing APPs with a forum to connect, share resources, and learn from one another in our care for people with movement disorders. Together with a steering committee and feedback from fellow APPs, PMD Alliance has created “APProviders” – a virtual portal available on Android and iOS where advanced practice providers can share top quality continuing medical education opportunities, professional networking, and unparalleled resources of knowledge and best practices.
If you’re an APP, please join us. If you work in the movement disorder space and you know of someone who could benefit from this resource, please share this update with them. The APProviders portal is an online forum for APPs to connect, share information, resources, and knowledge. The APProviders portal can be accessed on the web at www.approviders.org and on apps for both Android and iOS.
And if you’re living with or caring for someone with a movement disorder, I encourage you to really say “hello” to your nurse practitioner or physician assistant the next time you’re in the office. We think about you often and are honored to be a part of the Ecosystem dedicated to supporting you on your movement disorder journey.
*If you have questions about using or accessing the APProviders portal, contact Rebecca Korduner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sherrie Gould, MSN, NP-C is a nurse practitioner at Scripps Clinic Movement Disorders Center in La Jolla, CA. Sherrie holds a Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of San Diego and a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Michigan. She is an expert DBS programmer and is a national speaker on Parkinson’s Disease. In 2010, Sherrie created a grassroots non profit organization called Summit for Stem Cell, which supports fundraising and education for research using patient specific non embryonic stem cell therapy for a proposed long term treatment for Parkinson’s disease.