A Review of Interprofessional Variation in Education: Challenges and Considerations in the Growth of Advanced Practice Providers in Emergency Medicine

Author Department

Emergency Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



The employment and utilization of advanced practice providers (APPs) in the emergency department has been steadily increasing. Physicians, physician assistants (PAs), and nurse practitioners (NPs) have vastly different requirements for admission to graduate programs, clinical exposure, and postgraduate training. It is important that as supervisory physicians, patients, hospital administrators, and lawmakers, we understand the differences to best create a collaborative, supportive, and educational framework within which PAs/NPs can work effectively as part of a care team. This paper reviews the trends, considerations, and challenges of an evolving clinician workforce in the specialty of emergency medicine (EM). Subsequently, the following parameters of APP training are examined and discussed: the divergence in physician, PA, and NP education and training; requirements of PA and NP degree programs; variation in clinical contact hours; degree-specific licensing and postgraduate EM certification; opportunities for specialty training; and the evolution and availability of residency programs for APPs. The descriptive review is followed by a discussion of contemporary and timely issues that impact EM and considerations brought forth by the expansion of APPs in EM such as the current drive to independent practice and the push for reimbursement parity. We review current position statements from pertinent professional organizations regarding PA and NP capabilities, responsibilities, and physician oversight as well as billing implications, care outcomes and medicolegal implications.