nurse ed

An ApolloMD PA: Three Years In and on The Road to Leadership Opportunities

For the three years that she has worked as a physician assistant (PA) at an ApolloMD partner hospital in rural North Carolina, Noelle Griffin has focused on key aspects of her career:

  • Taking excellent care of the patients who visit the emergency room
  • Taking advantage of ApolloMD-offered education and training opportunities to learn, sharpen, and leverage new skills — especially for treatments or procedures that are not common or available at her community hospital
  • Focusing on a leadership position at ApolloMD

“I would love to take a bigger role in the company someday,” says Griffin, who is steadily gaining knowledge and experience with a goal of moving into an ApolloMD supervisory or management role.

employee education opportunitiesOne of the hallmarks of ApolloMD is a company-wide focus on continued education, leadership training, and mentoring opportunities so that employees can continue to engage in, shape, and advance their careers.

The approach is a tangible recruitment-retention tool and a company solution to employee burnout in a profession that has witnessed an inordinate amount of stress and challenges.

LaDawn Bradley, currently National Director for Patient Experience at ApolloMD, is an ideal example of an employee who has leveraged her experience to advance her health care skills and opportunities while reshaping her own career in a leadership position.

A nurse’s career journey supports ApolloMD colleagues

Before joining ApolloMD seven years ago, Bradley worked as a bedside registered nurse for 22 years in a hospital step down unit, critical care unit, and emergency department. After leaving the emergency team, she worked as a performance improvement coordinator. Facing career burnout, she retired from nursing.

She was recruited by ApolloMD to build and expand a patient experience program, an initiative that strengthens the relationship between the employee-owned company and its health care/hospital partners while also supporting ApolloMD’s professionals who provide daily patient care.

“We recognize that our health care professionals — physician assistants and nurse practitioners – need good professional experiences of their own in order to deliver great patient experiences,” says Bradley. “I’m so passionate about what I do, and ApolloMD is an amazing company to work for. It really encourages autonomy.”

New skills, new roles, new opportunities

As a physician assistant, Griffin is honing her skills through company-provided training and opportunities. She has access to monthly Zoom educational sessions through the company’s APC Advancement Program on different medical specialties and topics, procedures, and common treatments.

Supported by ApolloMD, Griffin has also gained experience for advanced procedures by attending a nearby community college that offers specialty training, such as ultrasound-guided IV techniques, on lifelike human robot-mannequins. Another perk is access to company-paid continuing medical education for hands-on training, especially for procedures (e.g., intubation or thoracentesis) that she does not encounter frequently in the rural hospital where she works.

“When people interview for a position with us, they obviously interview with other firms but they tell us that they specifically choose our company because of the support we give to our APCs, not only from a corporate standpoint but also from a clinical education standpoint,” confirms Jennifer Goldbach, PA-C, ApolloMD’s Vice President Advanced Practice.

“We host at least 2-3 live webinars every month, ranging from basics for newer APCs and APCs coming to emergency medicine from a different specialty, and it covers the bread-and-butter of emergency medicine to make sure that they’re staying updated with current practices,” she says.

career advancement opportunities abound

Some regional ApolloMD programs also offer their own “Monthly Morsels,” such as one started by Anna Huneycutt, a PA at a community hospital in Monroe, NC. The program is geared to new employees who have questions about emergency medicine or experienced employees who want deeper knowledge and training to participate in more advanced procedures.

career advancement opportunities abound

Jennifer Goldbach, PA-C, ApolloMD’s Vice President Advanced Practice

“Where one of Jennifer’s monthly sessions for new employees might cover blood pressure basics, our team might follow up with a program specifically about hypertension diagnoses and challenges that we encounter in the ED – likely scenarios, common challenges with controlling high blood pressure, hypertension as a risk factor for other disease and diagnosis, and other advanced topics,” Huneycutt explains.

Education = Retention

In 2019, her team also instituted training for PAs to learn new skills that enable them to participate in more advanced procedures in the ED, such as placement of central lines and ultrasound-guided intravenous lines, chest tube management, and intubation.

“It’s an employee education program that also plays a huge role in employee retention,” says Huneycutt. “People want to feel like they are part of the team and functioning at the level they were trained for. Training on these advanced procedures requires a lot of hands-on education, and it helps to solidify and learn new skills. People want to feel competent, and they want to keep learning new skills to provide the best care possible.”

Griffin agrees that ApolloMD-provided education has sharpened her skills and sustained her passion for ongoing education that might lead to opportunities for advancement.

“I can take advantage of a lot of the APC University and monthly sessions for updated practices for common problems, such as treatments for dental abscesses or some of the specialty procedures that we don’t encounter often in our hospital,” says Griffin, who worked as an emergency medical technician before joining ApolloMD.

employee education opportunities

Griffin’s goal: Move into a position as a Lead APC, a role that involves supervising and working with other PAs in her region. She has attended a work-life balance leadership conference in nearby Charlotte and is working on completing all of the requirements to be considered for a Lead APC role.

“ApolloMD really wants to give us the opportunities and support we need to succeed and advance here,” she says. “It’s nice that it’s at our own pace.”

Explore opportunities and benefits for APCs now.