Baptist Names First System Director of Advanced Practice Providers

Amanda B. Comer, DNP, FNP, ACNP, ENP, has been named Baptist Memorial Health Care’s system director of advanced practice providers (APPs). She received a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Augusta University, following a Master of Science of Nursing from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Comer is a board certified family, acute care and emergency nurse practitioner. Amanda is committed to advanced practice and is active at the regional, state and national level. She serves as board chair for the American Academy of Emergency Nurse Practitioners and was instrumental in the development of Mississippi’s first emergency nurse practitioner fellowship.

More than 1,100 APPs work throughout the Baptist Memorial Health Care system, and Dr. Comer anticipates a continued rise in this statistic. APPs include nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, physician assistants, and certified nurse midwives. They are nationally certified, state-licensed medical professionals prepared with a graduate level or doctoral education. The highly trained clinicians examine, diagnose and treat acute and chronic health conditions. APPs order and interpret tests and most prescribe medications if indicated. In addition, APPs provide patient education and make referrals to other healthcare professionals. Dr. Comer explains, “Advanced practice providers play an increasingly vital role on the health care team.”

Baptist’s APPs are providing excellent care for patients throughout its numerous hospitals, outpatient clinics and ambulatory care settings.  They are essential in primary care, acute care and specialty services, including internal medicine, oncology, cardiology, neurology, emergency medicine, surgery, palliative medicine, psychiatric-mental health, pediatrics, women’s health and hospital medicine. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of APPs is expected to grow by 26% during the next decade, making it a much faster growing field than average.

As system director of advanced practice providers, Dr. Comer provides oversight of adherence to professional standards for APPs, including credentialing, privileging and competencies. Variation in state regulations provides a unique challenge for Baptist, with APPs practicing in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Baptist aims to enhance the conventional APP role to help meet the ever-changing demands of health care. Dr. Comer’s focus will be on leveraging the expertise and knowledge of APPs throughout Baptist and developing strategies for innovative, team-based care models. Dr. Comer states, “As we come together as a system, aligning resources to assure the delivery of exceptional care, the possibilities are limitless.”