By Richard Nelson, managing editor, December 03, 2012
Since the Academy began tracking the employment of physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) in dermatology, the specialty has seen steady growth in the number of dermatologists who employ such extenders. Indeed, as shown on the chart below, projections based on the Academy’s 2012 Dermatology Practice Profile Survey indicate that more than half of dermatologists will employ at least one extender by 2015.
Academy President Daniel M. Siegel, MD, noted in his July From the President column that the trend toward more dermatologists employing extenders, along with the growing U.S. population, means that “PAs and NPs will of necessity play an important role in the care of dermatologic patients going forward” and discussed the questions this raises about the role the Academy should play in the education of PAs and NPs within dermatology. In every survey where questions about extender education have been asked, dermatologists who employ PAs or NPs have been more likely to support the Academy offering educational sessions specifically designed for extenders.
The Academy has developed a position statement on the appropriate supervision of extenders. To review the position statement on The Practice of Dermatology: Protecting and Preserving Patient Safety and Quality Care, visit www.aad.org/Forms/Policies/ps.aspx. To read Dr. Siegel’s column, visit www.aad.org/dermatology-world/from-the-president/2012/july. To read more about the educational options available for PAs and NPs in dermatology, visit www.aad.org/dermatology-world/monthly-archives/2011/november/learning-to-teach.