The Role of Physician Extenders in a Joint Replacement Practice

SJRI is confident that we provide the highest quality of care available before, during and after total joint replacement surgery and are proud of our comprehensive approach to joint pain treatments. The surgeons of SJRI are strongly committed to providing this high quality care and therefore rely on nurse practitioners (NP) and physician’s assistants (PA) (also known as mid-level providers or physician extenders) to provide much of the non-surgical care and patient education.

Licensed and Certified

Our Nashville physician extenders are all licensed and certified practitioners. In order to earn certification, each has completed an accredited program in their field and passed a national exam to demonstrate competence.

SJRI employs two different kinds of mid-level providers- physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners. While their titles are different, they function interchangeably in our practice. Nurse practitioners hold master’s degrees in nursing, and physician’s assistants typically have earned a bachelor’s degree in addition to two years of PA training.

Responsible for Care

Physician extenders provide a variety of services to our joint replacement patients. Office visits such as pre-operative evaluations and routine follow-up visits are almost exclusively handled by NPs and PAs at SJRI. Other office-based procedures such as intra-articular joint injection treatments are also handled by mid-level staff.

Another important role of the physician extender in our practice is the care provided during the inpatient hospital stay. A physician extender in the inpatient setting can act as the “eyes and ears” of the surgeon, allowing for issues to be addressed in a more timely manner and improving communication between the hospital and the office.

Access Points to Care

By definition, surgeons spend a great deal of their time in surgery, which limits the amount of time they have available for routine office evaluations. Typically, each surgeon in our practice operates 3 – 4 days per week, leaving the remaining time for all other non-surgical patient care, administrative duties, etc. By using physician extenders, SJRI is able to provide greatly expanded access to office appointments, phone consultation and review of test results.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 877-442-SJRI (7574).