I traveled to the hometown of “The Music Man” this week to talk about osteoporosis detection and treatment. On the road a few weeks ago, I was in the St Louis area for several talks.
This week, as was the case at some sites in St Louis, the majority of the attendees were PAs, NPs, RNs, and DXA techs. Actually, this is as it should be. These key staff members have the time and training to discuss and reinforce the sometimes tedious details of calcium, vitamin D, and bone health issues.
One of the keys to successful prevention or treatment of osteoporosis is spending enough time with the patient and family. It is very difficult for most doctors to do this within the tight schedule of appointments. Now in my Osteoporosis clinic, the RN is key in communicating with patients.
Through my talks and through hosting visits to the clinic, I have helped several practices start treating osteoporosis. This is tremendously gratifying for me. I am able to reach more practices and therefore help more patients identify osteoporosis and work toward fracture prevention. In most cases the most effective persons dealing with the patients, families, and their questions are PAs, NPs, and RNs. This works. These are the people in the trenches working with the patients, slowly increasing their awareness of the problem and helping them implement a solution.
Does it take a village? Not really. It just takes medical staff who make the extra effort to make it work. We’re all in this together. If this blog is in any way a help to making their work easier and more effective, then it is worth the effort.
Jay Ginther, MD