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ADVANCE for NPs & PAs Blog

NP Named President of Hospital Medical Staff

Published January 12, 2011 9:00 AM by Michelle Perron

Robert Donaldson, a family nurse practitioner, was recently elected president of the medical staff at Ellenville Regional Hospital in Ellenville, N.Y. We at ADVANCE are excited and encouraged to see an NP take the lead in what has traditionally been an area dominated by physicians. As president of the medical staff, Donaldson will serve as chairman of the medical executive committee and as the direct medical link to the board of trustees for the hospital.

In the case of this hospital and the Ellenville area, Donaldson says physicians are very supportive of NPs. He joined the hospital staff in 2004, when a physician owner of the emergency department staffing group invited him to be the first standalone ED provider who was not a doctor. At that time, the hospital faced significant financial hurdles. But with a new CEO at the helm -- a leader who had studied and written about NPs -- things started looking up. And NPs were part of that successful effort.

In 2008, Donaldson was officially listed as a member of the medical staff and as an allied health provider as defined by hospital bylaws. Soon after, the president of the medical staff invited him to take part in a review of the bylaws, and guess what: The committee Donaldson served on revised the documents to state that the nurse practitioner role was equal to the role of a physician. 

In an interview with FHEA News, a newsletter of Fitzgerald Health Education Associates, Donaldson stated his initial goals as follows: "I hope to show that the title of president of the medical staff can belong to a nurse practitioner or a physician. My short-term goal is to work very hard to gain acceptance of my peers and assure them that in the future, any other nurse practitioner could attain the same title. Along those same lines, I have taken steps to encourage three of my NP colleagues to become full attending providers on the medical staff and have them work on committees to increase their face time with the medical staff, clinical staff and administrators."

We offer our warmest congratulations to you, Bob!

P.S. Any other NPs or PAs out there who are taking on similar roles? Let us know!


A few comments:

Most importantly is a great THANK YOU to Robert for breaking the glass ceiling for us all in another way.

There are NPs and PAs all over the country doing the same thing. Heading up committees that only physicians once did, in the military both PAs and NPs are routinely made "Chief of Primary Care". Things of that nature. I found it unbelieveable that a number of years ago a PA was elected Chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Medicine. That to me was amazing.

I do have a question that struck me in this case particularly; as he is licensed to practice nursing I wonder how this reflects legally? The by laws can address this but it is a bit odd. As you know I am pro-NP but it struck me as cumbersome. Also odd that they did not amend the bylaws to include PAs while they were at it, maybe they did?

In any case, good work.


Dave Mittman January 12, 2011 1:24 PM
Livingston, NJ NJ

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