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Happy National Nurse Practitioner Week

Thank you, nurse practitioners (NPs), for your valuable work and selfless dedication every day and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize the 4,500 TeamHealth NPs.

Rob Morton, NP, Regional Director of Advanced Practice Clinicians (APCs) for the LifePoint Group, has more than 20 years of experience as an NP. However, this year, National NP Week is unlike any before.

COVID-19 has created many challenges for his team, but he is extremely proud of how they have found new ways to come together.

He leads a team of about 100 full-time APCs at 13 rural hospitals, and he also works clinically at Georgetown Community Hospital about 30 minutes north of Lexington, Kentucky.

The team has demonstrated flexibility and collaboration – covering shifts, traveling to work at different hospitals or moving to a new area of care during the pandemic. “Our APCs have adapted without a hiccup,” Rob said. “They have been extremely helpful and professional.”

We’re in this together

Collaboration is one of Rob’s favorite parts of his job.

Because Rob, with the support of TeamHealth, leads his team to meet the national healthcare needs of LifePoint Health, he understands the expectations of both industry-leading companies. He really enjoys the opportunity to create and deploy best practices across the nation with other APC leaders.

Rob is the chair of the Teamhealth National APC Council. The council breaks down silos between different areas of care and physical areas of the nation. It brings together contributors and innovators. They advise TeamHealth’s executive and physician leaders on best practices for APCs and work together to improve patient care.

“When you bring together a group of people from different specialties, you tend to get a better model,” Rob explained.

Making a difference in rural communities

Not only does Rob bring the perspective of hospital medicine and emergency medicine to the APC Council, but he also brings another point of view – living and working in rural communities. He is passionate about the communities his team serves.

His own family is from rural Eastern Kentucky. His family migrated from the Appalachian Mountains to outside of Dayton, Ohio, for factory work before returning to Kentucky.

“My mother worked in factories until about the mid-1970s when the factory closed,” Rob said. “Then she went to work as a nursing aide. We were taking care of older folks in our home. So I grew up helping with non-family members living with us.”

Growing up caring for others is one reason he became a nurse practitioner. The experience of patients, their families and their communities is important to Rob.

Several years ago, Rob was on call when a patient in her 80s came to the hospital with chest pain. Rob went in at 2 a.m. to talk with her and her family.

“The family was obviously very worried so I said, ‘This is what we are worried about, and this is what we need to do.’ They seemed to appreciate my frank discussion. Flash forward about eight years later, and I’m sitting in my son’s classroom at a parent-teacher night. A lady comes up and says, ‘Hey, you were the nurse practitioner when my mother was in the hospital. You did a great job in talking to us and calming our anxieties.’ The fact that she remembered me told me I made a positive impact,” he said.

NPs Moving Forward: Today. Tomorrow. Together.

Lynn Massingale, MD, Co-Founder and Chairman of TeamHealth, founded the company more than 40 years ago under the guiding principle that the quality of a 2 a.m. patient encounter is the central determinant of the company’s success. The importance of patient experience rings true today and moving forward. Nurse practitioners make this possible by meeting patients where the need is greatest.

“Mentally and physically, it has been a tough year,” Rob said. “Nevertheless, I love what I do and the difference I can make in people’s lives while supporting our APCs. Nurse practitioners, keep doing the great work that you are doing, and know that TeamHealth is behind you.”

Happy National NP Week.