Today, there’s a very real shortage of oncologists. With approximately 18 percent of practicing oncologists nearing retirement, and only 13 percent entering the field, the discrepancy is cause for concern, especially considering the increasing demand for oncology care. However, behind the scenes nurse practitioners and physician assistants are stepping up to fill the gap and provide the much needed care. To ensure both nurse practitioners and physician assistants are up to date with the latest clinical research and information, organizations including Practicing Clinicians Exchange (PCE) are offering virtual educational conferences for those managing patient care, prescribing medicines, and overseeing treatment management. To better understand the 2020 PCE Oncology Conference Series, we sat down with Ruth Cohen, Senior Vice President of Program Development for PCE.
Future Healthcare Today (FHT): Thanks for joining us, Ruth. Why is this live PCE Oncology Series being offered?
Ruth Cohen (RC): Since 2015, PCE has educated APCs — over 2,500 nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) — at our PCE Oncology Conference Series. While PCE has live streamed in the past, this is the first year that this series is entirely virtual – allowing our attendees ease and accessibility despite the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. And, it’s actually opening up the education to a wider national audience.
Designed first and foremost with these practitioners in mind, this year’s PCE Oncology Series presents the latest clinical findings and strategies to those managing care for patients undergoing treatment for a variety of common cancers and malignant hematologic disorders.
FHT: Who is the series designed for and how can it help them?
RC: The shortage of practicing oncologists and rising demand for oncology care has subsequently led to the increase in APCs, including NPs and PAs, in the workforce. In fact, it was reported that in 2019, 81 percent of oncology practices employed APCs – a 21 percent increase from 2007. A recent survey has estimated that between 5350 and 7000 APCs are currently managing cancer care services in the United States. These critical healthcare players are providing counseling, writing prescriptions, and overseeing overall treatment. Our oncology series provides APCs with the latest information, findings, and strategies in oncology care helping them to stay informed and fulfill their responsibilities as they fill in the gaps of the oncologist shortage.
FHT: How will the PCE Oncology Series help clinicians improve their clinical strategies in the management of patients with cancer?
RC: PCE Oncology Conferences bring together leading experts in the field to educate oncology NPs and PAs about the latest clinical advances and how to incorporate those advances into practice.
Patient outcomes can be compromised if those on the front lines – including APCs – aren’t inline or up to date with routine practices, including appropriate interventions and general industry updates and findings. A good practitioner is one that helps patients adhere to treatment, understands the complexity of their diseases, and recognizes the effects and administration of treatment medications. Our series helps to inform and educate ACPs to produce optimum patient outcomes.
FHT: What makes this series different from other continuing clinical education options?
RC: PCE tailors its education exclusively to the advanced practice audience. We bring nationally recognized leaders in oncology who not only present the latest industry strategies but engage in clinical discussions with oncology NPs and PAs who act as moderators to ensure that the findings are relevant to the audience. Through cutting edge technology we’re providing the highest level of interactivity via live streaming which helps PCE assess the relevancy and effectiveness of our programs.
FHT: What’s next for PCE and the NPs and PAs you support?
RC: The Oncology series takes place each spring and fall. Our next program in October, but clinicians can register anytime. We also host our 2020 PCE Symposia Series, new programs beginning in June. This program covers a broad range of scientific developments that translate to practical clinical strategies for NPs and PAs. Because it’s live streaming this year, we can now offer the program to even more NPs and PAs than ever. This series covers a broad range of areas critical to our clinicians including COVID-19, Asthma, Heart Failure, Influenza, Migraine and more.
Ready to attend the series? Click here.