Nurse practitioners and Physician Assistants are a diverse group of health care providers. We celebrate diversity. While acknowledging this, we recognize the commonalities that form the basis of NP and PA care. The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) Nurse Practitioner Advanced Practice Council meets monthly to address ways in which APNs and PAs share the responsibility for safe and quality care. This council works with the other organizational councils to advance the strategic goals of the organization.

In addition, APN/PA Grand Rounds are held monthly to discuss both educational and professional topics. This forum allows for NPs from every subspecialty to present new information to their peers.

Central to our identity are the values we hold. It is this set of values that forms a foundation for our day-to-day practice as well as fosters our dreams and aspirations for our individual and common professional growth. In the interest of explicating our common values and committing to them as a means of promoting our common good, we propose the following four statements as core values:

Collaboration is the means by which nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide care to patients. It is the respectful cooperation between disciplines and between different levels of practitioners within each discipline. Collaboration has an active, assertive agenda that promotes the achievement of mutually agreed upon goals. It assumes a level of competence and professional credibility that earns the respect and deference of other disciplines.

Personal Professional Growth is a fundamental obligation of all professionals. Opportunities for professional development must be pursued to meet both personal and organizational goals for which the nurse practitioner is accountable. Nothing relieves the individual practitioner of the personal obligation to pursue new knowledge and experience.

Organizational Professional Growth is essential if advanced practice is to be nurtured, and in turn successful, within the organization. Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants should be guiding the development of advanced practice care in the medical center by leading discussions of the scope of NP and PA practice; appropriate organizational and system policies that best use the skills and advantages of advanced practice nursing and the nature of collaborative relationships in the delivery of clinical care to specific patient populations. Nurse practitioners and Physician assistants should be in the forefront of education for administrators, physicians, consumers and other disciplines about the nature and scope of advanced practice.

Professional Role Development: Mentoring both novice and experienced practitioners is essential because the success of all depends to some degree on the success of each. Whether the practitioner is new to the role or new to the system, mentoring benefits not only the individual, but the system. If we have a true commitment to collaboration, we also have an obligation to model that behavior among ourselves. There is no arena where collaboration is more critical than in the socialization and cultural orientation of new practitioners. The role of mentor is critical to this process and goes beyond teaching of facts and sharing of protocols.