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Dermatology Practice Today

Q&A With Dr. Debra

Published June 5, 2014 8:26 AM by Debra Shelby
The National Academy of Dermatology Nurse Practitioners recently received the following correspondence on its website. The questions are answered by Debra Shelby, PhD, DNP, FNP-BC, DNC, president and founder of the organization.

"I'm hoping someone can answer a few questions for me, not only for my own knowledge, but I have an assignment for one of my NP classes that requires communication with a NP professional organization."

1. As you've expressed on your website, specialty training in dermatology is not widely available. For NPs who want to specialize and practice in dermatology, what would be your recommendations?

I think the ultimate in dermatology training is the University of South Florida DNP Dermatology Residency Program. The program offers a multidiscipline residency with top dermatologists, dermatology NPs, surgical oncologists, wound care specialists, podiatry and Mohs surgeons. It was the first DNP residency of its kind and the first DNP Dermatology Residency. I developed it in 2006.

Second would be the new post-master's certificate program NADNP will be offering at the end of 2014-beginning of 2015. Stayed tuned for future announcements on the NADNP website. This program will include lectures, papers and a project. In addition, 500 clinical hours will need to be completed either with our faculty or back in your home town before the certificate can be administered. Very convenient!

For those of you who cannot attend a formal program, register for national dermatology  NP conferences like the one offered by the National Academy of Dermatology Nurse Practitioners (NADNP) or the National Nurse Practitioner Symposium, which now includes a dermatology track via their new collaboration with NADNP. Other dermatology conferences exist, just look at the topics and pick what is right for you.

2. Would you recommend any particular websites, texts or programs that would assist continued education?

For the basics, I like Fitzpatrick or Andrews dermatology books.  For the more advanced provider, dermatology texts by Bolognia are excellent and are what we use in the USF Dermatology Residency Program. On the NADNP website, we have a list of resources: http://www.nadnp.net/?page=resources

We talked about programs, but one that was really great for me was Dr. Greenway's Superficial Anatomy and Cutaneous Surgery program in California. If you want to learn surgery techniques, I really enjoyed it.  https://cme.ucsd.edu/superficialanatomy/

3. Dermatology and medical aesthetics are an excellent complement to one another. What would your recommendations be for training in medical aesthetics?

The first place to start is by finding a qualified instructor like the one we have at our conference. Make sure of their credentials are and ask about their training. You can also ask the reps who sell Botox, fillers and peels who they recommend, and they will arrange for you to train on their product.

Having an aesthetician in your practice is wonderful because it frees up the provider who needs to focus more on the general dermatology side and does not have the time to do microdermabrasion, peels, etc.

4. Would you say there is a recommended balance in an NP's practice between clinical dermatology and medical aesthetics?

I am a general dermatology and skin cancer specialist. I recommend that the dermatology nurse practitioner master general dermatology first, before branching out to cosmetics. Dermatology is such a difficult specialty to learn, so I advise my students to focus all of their attention on medical dermatology first, then look into learning cosmetics. In my DNP derm residency, I do not even offer a rotation in cosmetics because of this. It is really an art and not everyone is good at it.  After that, it's up to the provider to practice the way they want and what they prefer.

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    Occupation: Physician assistant and nurse practitioners
    Setting: Various dermatology settings
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