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Patient and Doctor | Skin Bones CME

When you can’t help your patients: referring to others to address their issues

Seeking Second Opinions – Beneficial for Patients and Medical Teams

Maybe you’re the patient or on the medical team. Either way, referrals to a specialist are common, particularly when it becomes clear that the compliant patient isn’t improving despite following current clinical practice guidelines. At Skin, Bones, Hearts & Private Parts’ CME Conferences, it’s a topic we hear a lot about, as all of our speakers – Physicians, Physician Assistants, and Nurse Practitioners – are active, practicing professionals. And we often hear – for every specialty – that complex cases often prompt some of our CME speakers’ most engaging and collaborative work.

Collaborating as Physicians, Physician Assistants, and Nurse Practitioners

“Knowing what you do not know is a good sign of a seasoned professional,” pointed out Nurse Practitioner Chris Hemmer, DNP, ANP-BC, ONP-C, FAANP, and a speaker at Skin, Bones, Hearts & Private Parts’ CME conferences. As an orthopedics specialist, Chris reminds colleagues and conference attendees that “none of us knows everything, and recognizing when you need to request help from a colleague is priceless.”  

“I feel lucky to work in a clinic with seven other physician assistants and physicians,” added Gina Mangin, MPAS, PA-C, a Physician Assistant in Dermatology and a speaker in our 2024 CME Conference lineup. “I often turn to my fellow colleagues and ask their opinions – it reminds me of ‘grand rounds’ during my training.”

Such cases, Hemmer adds, can provide important opportunities for sharing the toughest cases with local and national meeting attendees, while other specialties have online forums where medical professionals can post challenging cases. Both options open the door to a boundless number of expert minds and tap into a worldwide hive of knowledge and experience. “In a specialty field, one must keep an open mind for ‘zebras’ when there is no obvious cause for a presentation,” he said. “Bringing cases to larger populations of colleagues can be enormously helpful to medical teams and patients alike.”

Collaborating toward a Solution

The ultimate beneficiary of such collaboration, of course, is the patient: “Depending on the severity of symptoms,” said Kristyn Rygg, PA-C, a physician assistant in dermatology and a speaker at several of our 2024 online CME and in-person CME conferences, “I may seek another opinion right away, or it may be only if the patient has failed treatment. But at any point, if we together have exhausted our knowledge and resources, we will not hesitate to transfer patients to the university or another specialty including, Infectious Disease, Allergy and Asthma. My focus is on the patient getting the best care possible, and from time to time, that may mean a patient leaving the practice. I try to make the transition as smooth by assisting in care coordination as possible.”

“Be open and honest with those patients,” added Hemmer. “That will be the true value of respecting them. I reiterate to my patients that they will benefit from a fresh pair of eyes to get to the bottom of their case but that they are always welcome back to our practice.”

One last step to smooth the transition to a new medical provider? Ask the patient to sign a medical release form so that you can share their medical records before their first appointment!

In-Person and Online CME for Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Physicians

Looking for colleagues with whom you can collaborate? Meet a range of health practitioners while earning continuing medical education credits at our CME conferences! Earn online CME credits or travel to a CME conference with like-minded nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physicians; and ‘unplug’ while enjoying a new locale! Check out our upcoming Skin, Bones, Hearts & Private Parts 2023 CME Conferences and 2024 CME Conferences! At every event, the best of the medical community gathers to earn CME credits, network, and gain knowledge on dermatology, orthopedics, cardiology and emergency medicine, women’s health, pain management and pharmacology, diabetes, ER, and mental health. Online CME courses and Virtual CME are also available, allowing you to earn CME credits conveniently.