Your Health | 2 months ago

Bonds and Saving Lives: Celebrating Our APPs

We honor this critical group of provider - including nurse practitioners and physician assistants - who are often the first line of patient care.

For some patients, the health care providers they see most frequently are advanced practice providers (APPs) – medical professionals who offer many of the same important services as doctors, such as preventive medicine, acute care and prescriptions. APPs can sometimes spend additional time with patients during appointments, which can help create a special bond. 

The close relationships formed between APPs and their patients can save lives. Just ask Latoya Reid.

Latoya is an advanced heart failure patient who regularly meets with Amanda Green, NP, who specializes in cardiology and works at Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute Heart Failure & Transplant Greenville. In July 2021, shortly before Latoya’s birthday, Green had to share some challenging news: Latoya needed to travel to Charlotte immediately for tests and for a possible heart transplant. But Latoya had a packed schedule – working full time, caring for her teenage son, and keeping up with her studies in nursing school. 

So Latoya responded, “No, thank you.”

But Green pressed, kindly yet firmly, “No, we’re not delaying this. You’re going.”

“The intent of our office is to bring heart care to patients in upstate South Carolina,” Green says. “We can take care of them in a way they can’t otherwise get close to home. But when they need more help in Charlotte, we help them get there.”

Latoya’s heart had weakened considerably, so Green referred her to Dr. Joseph Mishkin at Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute Heart Failure and Transplant Kenilworth location. It was the trust that was built between Latoya and Green that convinced her to make the trip immediately.

“I’m so glad she pushed me,” Latoya says. “When I went to Charlotte and my tests came back, Dr. Mishkin told me, ‘Ms. Reid, you can’t go home today. You need a heart transplant.’”

Latoya stayed in the hospital for tests, a transplant and recovery. About a month later, she returned home with a new, healthy heart and feeling better than she had in years.

A Year Later, A New Beginning

When Latoya celebrated her birthday this year – one year after she went to Charlotte for her heart transplant – she stopped by Green’s office to thank her. Latoya felt much different this summer than last, with the energy she needs to juggle her full schedule. The stamina required for her schedule of work, school and parenting wouldn’t have been possible without her transplant and the heart care she’s received from Green since then.

“I’m feeling really good, full of energy,” Latoya says. “The difference is like night and day.”

“When patients come back and tell us how much better they’re feeling and that they have their life back, it’s incredible to be a part of that,” Green says. “It’s a privilege to take care of patients, and we don’t take that for granted.”

Honoring Our APPs

We’re celebrating National APP Week September 26-30, 2022. During this week, we honor all our APPs, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives. They ensure that all patients receive high-quality and evidence-based care, and they’re often the first line of patient care. This critical group of providers has a special place in our hearts, and they have a special place in their patients’ hearts, too. 

“Because of the degree of our patients’ illnesses, I see them on a fairly regular basis and I can get to know them as people, in addition to knowing them as patients with a disease,” Green says. “I get to know them and learn their story over time.”

It’s this familiarity and bond that allows APPs like Green to gain the trust of patients, even when – or perhaps, especially when – they have to share hard news with them. That trust means everything for people like Latoya, whose heart failure was more severe than she realized and who needed immediate care.