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Advanced Practice Providers

Nurse practitioner examining baby

There are times when your child may see an advanced practice provider (APP) instead of a doctor. At Cook Children's, our APPs are highly trained and skilled medical professionals who work closely with our doctors and medical team. Each APP regularly discusses individualized cases and treatment plans with their supervising physician to ensure our patients receive the same expert care regardless of provider. Having APPs on your treatment team allows for quicker access to health care without compromising quality. Research shows that APPs can help lower health care costs for patients by providing education on disease prevention and overall health management. They may help with:

  • History and physical exams.
  • Ordering and interpreting lab and radiology testing.
  • Care before, during and after surgery.
  • Diagnosing and managing chronic conditions.
  • Making referrals to specialists.
  • Prescribing medications.
  • Assisting in the operating rooms (OR).

Cook Children's APPs work in almost all service lines, including Anesthesia, the Emergency Department, primary care offices, urgent care centers, Behavioral Health, Telehealth and many other specialties.

Nationally, APPs receive high patient satisfaction scores and are able to provide exceptional, cost-effective care to their patients. At Cook Children's, our APPs work with our physicians to help ensure that our patients have better access to quality care.

Like a physician, Cook Children's APPs are trained and educated to provide medical care. APPs include certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs). APPs have obtained master's degrees or higher and are board certified. They must obtain state licenses and are required to maintain their licenses and certification with continuing education and recertification exams.

Physician assistant

PA stands for physician assistant. PAs are medical providers that practice under the supervision of a physician. PAs can diagnose illnesses, develop and manage treatment plans and prescribe medications. Most PA programs are about three years in length and include a rigorous didactic portion and more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations. PA school is modeled after the medical school model and, upon graduation, PAs obtain their master's degrees. PAs are regulated by the same medical board as physicians, the Texas Medical Board. They are required to obtain 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and must pass a recertification exam every 10 years, once they become certified.

Nurse practitioner

NP stands for nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse. They have extensive knowledge through experience and have completed rigorous master's programs, and in some cases, doctorate programs. Nurse practitioners are trained in a chosen health population focus, such as family, adult/gerontology, neonatal, pediatrics, women's health or psychiatric/mental health, and are able to diagnose illnesses, manage treatment plans and prescribe medications. They are regulated by the Board of Nursing and must complete 100 hours of continuing education and 1,000 clinical hours every five years.

Certified registered nurse anesthetist

CRNA stands for certified registered nurse anesthetist. CRNAs graduate with a minimum of a master's degree, with 66% of programs now offering doctorate of nursing practice degrees (DNP). Prior to graduation, CRNAs complete more than 2,000 clinical hours and administer more than 600 anesthetics. CRNAs are regulated by the Texas Board of Nursing, and certification is governed by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). To remain certified, CRNAs must complete 40 hours of continuing education per year, and are required to work a minimum of 850 clinical hours in a two-year period. CRNAs also must take a recertification exam every four years. At Cook Children's Medical Center, CRNAs practice in an anesthesia care team model, where they are directed by anesthesiologists in the delivery of anesthesia.