Who is Helping my Surgeon?

Who is Helping my Surgeon?

Who is Helping my Surgeon?

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As a patient, when you go into an orthopaedic surgeon’s office for your appointment, it is usually not the surgeon that first greets you and brings you into the examination room.  You are often asked a barrage of questions about why you have come in and often are asked about your medical history. So who is this person that is asking you all of these questions and what are their credentials?

There are many different allied health providers who work with orthopaedic surgeons. To help you understand some of the differences, I am going to start with separating these individuals into two categories:  Mid-level practitioner and Support Staff.   Mid-level practitioners are Physician Assistants (PA-C) and Nurse Practitioners (ARNP).  These providers work under a physician and often seen patient’s for routine follow-up visits, order/review diagnostic tests, prescribe medications, and recommend various forms of treatment. The PA and ARNP professions are licensed by the State.

The second category I mentioned is support staff. This includes a whole host of different allied health providers. These include Orthopaedic Assistants (OA-C), Surgical Assistants (CSA, CSFA, SA-C), Athletic Trainers (ATC), Nurses (LPN, RN), Orthopaedic Technologists (OTC), and Medical Assistants (MA).  Out of these professions, Athletic Trainers and Nurses are licensed in Florida and most other states. Orthopaedic Assistants (also known as Orthopaedic Physician’s Assistants) are licensed in some areas of the country, but not Florida. Surgical Assistants are licensed in a handful of states. Licensure defines what a particular professional is able to do. Those that are not licensed fall under different state laws in which the supervising physician is responsible for what activities they may perform. In general these individuals provide support to the physician to help with all aspects of patient care. Since these individuals are the assistant of the physician, many patients commonly refer to them as “Physician Assistant”.  From a legal standpoint, this is not technically correct.

Education, training and overall level of knowledge for all of these professions does vary considerably.  The only profession listed that offers comphrensive training, strictly in orthopaedics is that of Orthopaedic Assistants.  These individuals are trained to work with orthopaedic surgeons in both the clinical setting and in the hospital. Many of the other professionals mentioned learn orthopaedics while working on the job after they complete formal schooling.

So the big question that is often asked is “who is the best assistant and most qualified for an orthopaedic surgeon”? There is no one correct answer to this question.   Most physicians desire a well-trained, competent individual who can provide superior patient care.  As a patient, if you broke your arm, which of the above named allied health professionals would you want to place you into a cast? To most, the answer is “it does not matter, provided that individual has the appropriate training, experience, and really knows what they are doing”. A good personality also goes along with that answer!

Next time you are go to see your orthopaedic surgeon, I encourage you to ask the allied health professional who is assisting you about his/her credentials.  As a part of the office team, it is often this individual that helps direct your visit with the physician and provides you with patient education, information, and helps enhance your overall experience.

Citations

  • Johal J, Dodd A. Physician extenders on surgical services: a systematic review. Can J Surg. 2017 Jun;60(3):172-178. PubMed PMID: 28327274

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

One of “6 Spine Physicians Ranked #1 on Google” – December 2016

Top Ten Most Liked Spine Surgeons on the Internet – July 2016

2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

2014 Spine Specialists to know list – September 2014

One of Ten Leaders of Certified Spine Programs – December 2011

 

The Best Orthopedics in Tampa

The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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