Category Archives: Nurse Practitioners

NP Week 2017—Locum Tenens Provider Spotlight on Ade Ogunmokun

November 12-18 is National Nurse Practitioner Week, designated to recognize the contributions of nurse practitioners across the United States. This year, we are highlighting Ade Ogunmokun, one of Consilium’s partnering locum tenens psychiatric nurse practitioners.

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At the beginning of Ade Ogunmokun’s career, she was working as a certified nursing assistant but was uncertain about her long-term plans. It was the guidance of other nursing professionals at each new step of her career—coupled with a natural curiosity and true empathy for her patients—that eventually led her to earn an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, and finally, her master’s and a license as a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner (PNP).

“When I first got into nursing, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my career down the road,” Ogunmokun said.  “I started as a nursing assistant, which also is when I was first introduced to the world of long-term inpatient psychiatry. When I met medication aides at work, I was really intrigued by the job so I asked a lot of questions. Soon after that, I decided to go back to school and become a medication aide myself.”

It was through her work as a medication aide, Ogunmokun said, that piqued her interest in medication management. She briefly considered a career in pharmacy, but given her previous experience, she was positive that she was most passionate about psychiatry. She returned to school to complete the training to become an LPN and then an RN, and by then, she said her mind was set on advancing through the profession.

“I ended up moving into a setting that was inpatient but with more temporary stays, so patients were released back into the community in a very short timeframe,” Ogunmokun said. “I really became concerned about how these patients were going to function by themselves back out in society, and I wondered what I could do to better assist people in similar situations.”

While at that facility, Ogunmokun began feeling that while there was much she wanted to do to help her patients, she was limited by the fact that she was not allowed to prescribe medicine. It was then that she began working alongside several psychiatric nurse practitioners.

“I actually had no idea who they were,” Ogunmokun said. “I assumed they were doctors because they could prescribe medicine, but they ended up teaching me a lot about the process and benefits of becoming a nurse practitioner. It really got me thinking once I learned that they too were in the nursing profession—I had been frustrated for a while about barriers to helping my patients as much as I wanted. It became clear to me that I could overcome those obstructions as an NP, so I went back to school yet again.”

Fact: Nurse practitioners can prescribe medicine, including controlled substances, in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

In addition to prescriptive privileges, the NP profession appealed to Ogunmokun because nurse practitioners care for the “whole patient.” Alongside prescribing medicine and dispensing medical advice, NPs focus on the provision of health and wellness education and culturally competent care.

“It was during my first assignment with Consilium that I really began to understand the impact you can have as a nurse practitioner,” Ogunmokun said. “I had never worked in an outpatient setting before, but they gave me the opportunity to try it. It is so gratifying for me to help patients improve to the point that they begin thriving in personal and professional settings.”

Ogunmokun, who has worked with Consilium for three years, recounts the story of a patient she treated on assignment who was going through an incredibly rough patch in his life.

“That gentleman was dealing with all sorts of huge life issues simultaneously,” Ogunmokun said. “He had lost his wife, a number of his other relatives died within the same timeframe, he was completely unable to sleep at night, and he was struggling not to lose his house. It was incredibly rewarding when he returned a month later and I saw that my choice of medications was the right combination for him. He was sleeping better, feeling better overall despite the circumstances, and he was starting to move forward again. That was big for me.”

Ogunmokun, something of a world traveler, chooses to work locum tenens in large part because of the control she can maintain over her schedule.

“I really enjoy traveling, and I want to have the option to, say, visit the United Kingdom for six weeks if I want to,”Ogunmokun said. “In a regular job that’s virtually impossible, but locum tenens makes it so easy, and Consilium truly understands the concept of locums. They aren’t like some agencies that will ask where you’re going or why you need to be off—they really give you the freedom and flexibility to work as you choose.”

In the interest of paying forward some of the wisdom she received as an aspiring NP, Ogunmokun offers guidance to nurse practitioners who are not yet sure what type of work arrangement they should choose.

“If I were to advise an NP who was considering doing locum tenens, I would say to just maintain an open mind and give it a try,” Ogunmokun said. “Locums is a great way to experience new practice settings and you can generally stay for as long as you would like. The biggest thing is that with Consilium, you know you will be taken care of. It makes all the difference to work with someone who is an outspoken advocate for you and your needs—I feel like I have that in Cullen and Shadley, my recruiter and account manager.”

Interested in putting your medical expertise to work with Consilium, or in finding quality medical providers to cover shifts at your facility?

Locum Tenens Providers: Plan Ahead to Avoid DEA Delays

In late 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced several registration-related policy changes to be implemented in 2017. The proposed changes, particularly eliminating the renewal grace period for medical professionals, were likely to prove disruptive for providers, pharmacies, and patients. Resulting push-back from the medical community—including official responses from the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Physician Assistants—led to the reversal of most proposed modifications. However, one minor revision still was implemented earlier this month: providers will no longer receive a second renewal notice by mail.

If there is one constant for medical professionals across specialties, it is the continual demand for your time. While we may not be able to complete your charting for you (though we would if we could!), we can help make other paperwork less of a headache. Even if the recent DEA change seems minor at face value, the reality is that one fewer reminder could be the difference between meeting the renewal deadline and losing important prescriptive authority.

Consilium Sweats the Small Stuff…So Locums Providers Don’t Have to

When our partnering physicians, NPs, or PAs sign a contract with a facility that meets their practice preferences, we proactively note any renewals that will be necessary during the assignment. Several weeks before the deadline, your account manager will contact you and ensure that the renewal has been initiated. When you go to work for Consilium, you can rest easy knowing that you will never again have to worry about a registration lapse while traveling for an assignment.
Bonus: If the renewal deadline draws near and you are without reliable internet access, we’ve got that covered too. Our credentialing specialists can give you a quick call at your convenience to help you complete the forms over the phone.

Quick Registration Tips for the Busy Locum Tenens Professional

One of the perks of working locum tenens is the opportunity to travel the country for work. Though this does help you evade junk mail (who keeps adding you to all those mailing lists, anyway?), it also means that the DEA’s first renewal notice may not come to your (current) door. The second notice now will only be sent to the email address associated with your DEA account.

Prepare for the new reminder policy ahead of time:

  • Step one—Access your DEA provider account and verify that your contact information includes the email address you use most frequently.
  • Step two—While logged in to your account, make note of the date your renewal application is due.
  • Step three—Now, since it is already on your mind: set a calendar reminder to renew, especially if your deadline is within the next year.
  • Step four—Team up with Consilium: find a locum tenens job that meets your preferences…and let us deal with the details instead.

To check the expiration date of your DEA registration, you also may:

  • Call the DEA Registration Service Center at 1-800-882-9539
  • Email [email protected] and include your registration number

Interested in learning more about Consilium?  Visit our website or check out the most recent Consilium news.

How Nurse Practitioners Close Gaps in Healthcare Access

Happy Nurse Practitioner Week! An NP’s job certainly is challenging, there’s no disputing that. In honor of you and the impact you make every day (even when it isn’t easy!), let’s revisit some of the ways NPs are uniquely making a difference in the healthcare community.

In the 51 years since the nurse practitioner occupation was first established in the United States, there have been numerous monumental changes to the structure and function of the American healthcare system, including the advent of the locum tenens industry. In the midst of such upheavals, however, nurse practitioners have provided a constant in the form of versatile, high-quality, person-centered care across healthcare settings. Due to the existing physician shortage—which will likely grow to more than 130,000 by the year 2025, per the Association of American Medical Colleges —nurse practitioners will soon take on an even larger role in meeting healthcare needs. In celebration of NP Week, here’s a look at how nurse practitioners are already working to fill existing gaps in quality healthcare access…and why contract work might be a better fit than you think.

Providing Quality Care Across the Board

In many ways, NPs could be considered healthcare’s proverbial Jills (and Jacks) of All Trades. Nurse practitioners consistently remain some of the most requested locum tenens professionals, and for good reason: NPs do it all! Though an exhaustive list of nurse practitioners’ contributions and accolades is beyond the scope of this—or any—blog, some of NPs’ most valued capabilities include the ability to:

  • Prescribe medicine, including controlled substances, in all 50 states and Washington D.C.
  • Provide primary, acute, and specialty care services.
  • Deliver important health education: NPs provide information geared toward health promotion and disease prevention, encouraging patients to proactively take charge of their health.
  • Provide counseling services.
  • Order, interpret, and explain diagnostic tests.
  • Help patients fill out sensitive end-of-life directives: Out of the 19 states that utilize Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms, 16 now allow nurse practitioners to oversee the process. [1]

Not only do NPs embrace a variety of medical responsibilities in diverse settings, they also tend to do so quite well: research demonstrates that employing nurse practitioners in emergency service settings has a positive impact on quality of care, wait times, and patient satisfaction. [2]

Person-Centered Care: Treating Patients as Individuals

Often, patients can expect that a visit to the doctor will involve a focus on treating their specific presenting maladies. While this is valuable and necessary, a disease-focused approach on its own can neglect key causal factors. Because nurse practitioners subscribe to a person-centered model of healthcare that emphasizes the overall well-being of each individual, they treat medical complaints while also helping patients determine steps they can take to improve their physical and emotional health. Healthcare professionals who embrace person-centered models of care often take special care to:

  • Consider patients’ wants, preferences, and expressed values when recommending treatment.
  • Provide culturally-competent services for each individual by taking into account factors like patient age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, and socioeconomic situation.
  • Incorporate a patient’s support network, such as family and friends, when appropriate.
  • Ensure that patients feel safe, comfortable, heard, respected, and empowered.

Helping Those Who Need it Most: Serving Underprivileged Communities

Nurse practitioners provide care for underserved populations at very high rates: 72% of nurse practitioners accept Medicare, 78% accept Medicaid, and 77% treat uninsured patients (2016 AANP National Nurse Practitioner Sample Survey).  The provision of culturally-appropriate health education, while important for everyone, can be especially impactful for patients from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds and other traditionally underserved communities. Person-centered approaches to medical care can be especially life-changing for these patients, who often have less access to health information, fewer available medical resources, and less interaction with providers who understand their unique challenges and appreciate the significant impact of patient identity on health, wellness, and appropriate treatment approaches.

How Does Locum Tenens Work for Nurse Practitioners?

The increasing need for medical professionals across the country creates opportunities for nurse practitioners to provide valuable healthcare services in a wider variety of settings than would be available in traditional practice settings. Additionally, working on a locums basis allows more flexibility for NPs to construct a schedule consistent with their ideal work-life balance. Contract work may be a welcome change for nurse practitioners in all career stages who are experiencing any number of personal situations, such as:

  • NPs who recently finished school and are not yet sure where or in what practice setting they would like to work long-term—Locums allows NPs to “test-drive” different geographic locations and types of facilities, so you can be sure you have found the best fit.
  • NPs later in their careers who want to work less but are unready to fully retire —Locum tenens positions can provide a smooth transition into semi-retirement, allowing you to continue working with patients while leaving time to go on long-awaited trips, prioritize family time, or take up a hobby (like that one you‘ve been neglecting since second semester of nursing school).
  • NPs at any career stage who would like to travel but do not want to stop practicing medicine.
  • NPs facing burnout due to the high-stress nature of the job—Making even a temporary switch to locum tenens work can provide a much-needed reprieve for nurse practitioners experiencing burnout symptoms.

Locum tenens also can be a logical choice for nurse practitioners who:

  • Just moved to a different region of the country and are unfamiliar with facilities in the area.
  • Recently started a family (or plan to) and want to achieve a certain balance of time at work and time at home.
  • Share or alternate childcare duties or caretaking responsibilities for a family member with a long-term illness or disability.
  • Want to build savings for a specific goal—such as a new house, a large investment or business endeavor, or retirement—and want to pick up extra shifts for an understaffed local facility.

Thank you to all of our compassionate, hard-working locum tenens nurse practitioners, on behalf of everyone here at Consilium. We appreciate your dedication and recognize the impact you make in patients’ lives every day. Happy NP Week!

[1] Hayes Sophia A., Zive Dana, Ferrell Betty, and Tolle Susan W., Journal of Palliative Medicine. October 2016, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/jpm.2016.0228.

[2] Jennings, N., Clifford, S., Fox, A. R., O’Connell, J., & Gardner, G. (2015). The impact of nurse practitioner services on cost, quality of care, satisfaction and waiting times in the emergency department: A systematic review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52(1), 421-435. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2014.07.006