The Role of the Oncology Nurse Practitioner
and Physician Assistant
Providing Clinical Excellence and the Highest Quality of Care
Throughout the treatment of cancer, patients at Florida Cancer Specialists may sometimes see a Nurse Practitioner (NP) or a Physician Assistant (PA) in addition to, or instead of, a physician. At Florida Cancer Specialists, the role of the NP and PA is a critically important one that can enrich the quality of care our patients receive.
What is a nurse practitioner or physician assistant?
A nurse practitioner (NP) has a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing and a physician assistant has a master’s degree. Both the NP and the PA possess training and experience necessary to assess, diagnose and prescribe care, medications and treatment to promote overall wellness and comfort to patients and their families. NPs are licensed by State Boards of Nursing. In Florida, NPs must have completed a formal educational program, passed a national examination and hold national advanced practice certification to be certified and hold the title as an advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) by the Florida State Board of Nursing. PAs are licensed by State Boards of Medicine. In Florida, PAs must have completed a formal educational program, passed a national proficiency examination, and hold certification by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) to be certified and hold the title of Physician Assistant by the Florida State Board of Medicine. In a community oncology practice, such as Florida Cancer Specialists, an NP or PA specializes in caring for patients with cancer and hematologic disorders.
What does an oncology nurse practitioner and physician assistant do?
At Florida Cancer Specialists, our NPs and PAs work closely and collaboratively with our physicians to provide the highest quality care to patients and their families. They may see patients along with the physician at the initial consultation and will often see them for follow-up visits.They provide symptom management and psychosocial support, clarify information, offer education and work with the cancer care team to maximize, maintain, or restore patient health through improvements in practice and through innovation in the delivery of a variety of health services. Patients have reported a “high degree of satisfaction” with the care they received from NPs and PAs.