Key Advice for NPs & PAs with Angela Golden, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, FOMA
Featured ThriveAP Faculty Discussion: Angela Golden, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, FOMA
At ThriveAP we are honored to have an expansive faculty of expert speakers and APPs with impressive credentials and experience. Today we are talking with one of our esteemed faculty members to gain their advice for thriving in an advanced practice career.
Dr. Angela Golden, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, FOMA, expands upon journey in pioneering obesity and pre-obesity education, shares advice on what to look for in a mentor, journals and publications he uses to stay abreast emerging best practices and more! Watch the interview below with Sarah Maxwell, Director of Marketing at ThriveAP and Dr. Angela Golden, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, FOMA, or read the transcript.
Meet Dr. Angela Golden, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, FOMA
Sarah Maxwell: Hello, my name is Sarah Maxwell, Director of Marketing at ThriveAP. At ThriveAP, we are honored to have an expansive faculty of expert speakers and APPs with impressive credentials and experience. Today, I'm going to take a few moments to get to know one of our faculty members a little bit better and gain some of their advice for thriving in an advanced practice career. Thank you for joining us today Dr. Angela Golden, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, FOMA!
Dr. Angela Golden, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, FOMA: Thank you so much for having me. I mean, this is very nice that you guys do this.
SM: Oh gosh. We're honored to have you as part of our amazing team. I would love to take this opportunity to get to know you a little bit better. I'd love if you could tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, who you are, where you're from. Tell us a little bit about your practice.
AG: Right now I live in Northern Arizona, so we have a bit of snow on the ground. I own two practices as a nurse practitioner. I spent 20 years as a flight nurse in helicopters and fixed swings and various critical care types of things.
But as a nurse practitioner, I've worked emergency departments, urgent care, did some hospitalist work, and then really have concentrated on that primary care, even through all of. I own NP from Home, which is in Munds Park, Arizona, where I live, small community, and I only see the people who live in this community.
And then I also have NP Obesity Treatment Clinic, which is in Flagstaff, Arizona. And as the name implies, that clinic is to treat the chronic disease of obesity.
SM: Wow, that is not a resume you often hear, flight experience specifically. I think that's the first time I've heard that.
Tell us a little bit about, with such an illustrious career, what brought you to ThriveAP What interested, interested you in working with our team?
AG: You know, I think I met some of. Administrators when I was the president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and they told me about the program and not a lot of programs are teaching about obesity so I asked if there would be any interest. This was quite a while ago, in doing something to bring obesity for that first year or two, when people are first out in practice.
I was so excited because the approach to me was not to just do one small talk, but we did a whole workshop and we've done it more than once now. I really appreciated the opportunity to reach so many advanced practice providers, NPs, and PAs, who are coming into to practice early on.
After graduating and being able to really explain and have the time to really explain what obesity is as a chronic disease and why it's so critical that everybody in primary care, women's health, pediatrics, pretty much anybody that's doing any kind of primary care, is, is aware of what obesity is. It's been an incredible opportunity for me to be able to get that information to a group that's really working to be as successful as they can possibly be by being in a program like you all are offering.
" It's been an incredible opportunity for me to be able to get that information to a group that's really working to be as successful as they can possibly be by being in a program like you all are offering." - Angela Golden, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, FOMA, Adjunct Faculty at ThriveAP
SM: Absolutely. Talking about obesity being a chronic disease, that's something that becomes more and more prevalent every single year. I mean, especially now, I feel like obesity is such an epidemic that's constantly on the news.
AG: Yes, COVID certainly brought it to the forefront on the news, that's for sure, because it became one of the, the primary comorbidities that made covid worse for people. I think for me, the passion that I have for the chronic disease of obesity is, first of all, I'm a woman who lives with obesity. It's a disease. My father and other family members have and it's just not well understood as a chronic disease. People still look at us and think, we just don't have enough willpower and I can pretty much say I finished a doctoral degree in 11 months. I think I understand what it takes to have willpower. I just so appreciate that ThriveAP is making this available to the participants in your program because it's 70% of America has pre-obesity or obesity and obesity causes, 236 other diseases.
It's such a delight to see a program like this, willing to put this into their curriculum and in such a large way, not just, "oh, come to an hour presentation, but a whole workshop." I can't thank you all enough for doing that.
SM: Well, thank you for providing your expertise and your knowledge to the future of advanced practice. I think that's what's super important to us at ThriveAP is supporting APPs, helping them thrive, both in and out of practice. Working with people like you who have this amazing knowledge and depth of expertise is what helps us do that. So thank you! And with that, I think this might go into this a little bit, but tell me a little bit about your greatest passion in your role.
AG: I think for me it's twofold. Having had the privilege of serving as the president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, one of my greatest passions is to continue to move forward the role of the nurse practitioner and to make sure that that role is well appreciated and is at the table in all of these situations where there are multi-disciplines at the table. And so I continue to be loud and proud about that. I guess I can say I'm pretty passionate about that.
And then of course, from a personal place where I'm treating patients, the opportunity to help people who have faced so much bias and stigma, even in the healthcare environment with the chronic disease of obesity. It's really one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had as an NP. To be on that journey with those patients and to be able to provide them with a safe, unbiased, non-stigmatizing environment has really been a privilege and something that I just am so passionate about. And I was talking to someone earlier today. They said, "would you be willing to travel here to, to talk?" And I said, "If you tell me I can talk about obesity, I will travel anywhere."
I think that those two passions go well together right now. A lot of the things that I'm doing are bringing the nurse practitioners to the table in multi-discipline places around obesity. So it still is just one more place that I can put the two passions together.
"To be on that journey with those patients and to be able to provide them with a safe, unbiased, non-stigmatizing environment has really been a privilege and something that I just am so passionate about." - Angela Golden, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, FOMA, Adjunct Faculty at ThriveAP
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SM: I love it. You mentioned you were a past president, are there any other noteworthy accomplishments that you love to pinpoint? What would those be and why are those so notable to you?
AG: I was asked this is in a fellow's interview for AANP and I think having been on the board and being the President-Elect and the President as we moved through the process of having two national NP organizations and merging them into one, probably will remain one of the greatest highlights because I think it helped nurse practitioners. My PA colleagues always had only one organization that was the largest organization they have with AAPA but we had two and it caused some confusion and it caused some separation of the efforts that we could put forward in health policy, in so many different areas. The opportunity to be part of something that was that large, to bring those two organizations to form one, I think made such an impact and helped us be at more tables, helped us move the profession forward as our AAPA colleagues had been doing for years with just their single organization.
SM: Absolutely. I think that provides such a great opportunity for camaraderie too, right? It's such an expansive community of so many knowledgeable folks that if there's an opportunity to get everybody together and really align that's just invaluable.
AG: It is, it absolutely is!
SM: Speaking a little bit about supporting fellow APPs, what do you think are attributes that make a good mentor?
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AG: First and foremost, someone who loves what they're doing. I think if the person who's mentoring someone else isn't in a practice that they love being in and isn't still enjoying patient care, it's hard for them to help the next generation come in and have the same enthusiasm.
If I was looking for a mentor, I'd want that person to still have that enthusiasm but also to be able to help me with roadblocks that show up. Someone who has had some stumbling areas in their career so that they can help me understand how to move through those kinds of things.
I also think a mentor is someone who can help set boundaries too, because sometimes a mentee begins to depend so much on their mentor that they're not doing their own critical thinking. It's important for a mentor to say, "those are great questions. Where would you look to find the answers?" If a mentors not pushing you to do that, then I think they're not giving you what you are going to need to make your own way, and then to be able to turn around and be a mentor. I think that those are things that I would look for in a mentor.
SM: Basically giving them the tools to be be proactive and take the initiative. I think that is a really good point, and it actually k ind of leads into my next question, funnily enough, as somebody like you who's teaching, who's giving workshops, who's giving presentations, what journals or resources do you use to kind of keep you up to date to make sure you know what the latest and greatest procedure or best practices or new trends are that might be emerging in the space?
AG: I think that's difficult because part of it depends on what space you're in. From a general perspective, for my PA colleagues, I would say the JAAPA, the Journal from the American. Academy of Physician Associates, and the same for the NPs, the JNP and the JAANP, the two journals from the organization.
I think those give a broad overview of what's happening across multiple disciplines. I think where it becomes where your mentor can help tremendously is when you're getting into subspecialty. So, for instance, in my world of obesity, we've got five or six main journals, but we have every Friday an organization that does an overview of everything that's been published in the past week about obesity.
And so I coded that and then I look to see what do I wanna pull from the different journals. If you're specializing in endocrinology, especially diabetes, you've got the ADA's journal. I think when people start to get into subspecialties, then they have to look outside our organizations and go to those multidisciplinary, and I mentioned the ADA on purpose because our physician colleagues have subspecialty organizations that are very large and have journals, and they're excellent, but I think sometimes for us, because we are grounded in education for our patients, we don't get that from those journals. We do from the interdisciplinary journals where dietitians, nutritionist, exercise physiologists are also providing information into that journal. So I think it's important when you are getting interested in a specific disease process that you look for an interdisciplinary journal so that you get more than just medicine's view.
SM: It's kind of that, you know, beyond evidence-based. It's that. You know, what else is out there and, and to make the holistic provider
AG: Right. And it's the evidence based from other professions besides medicine. So it's the evidence based from the nutrition scientist, from the physical activity scientist, the exercise physiologist, so, you know, or physical therapy. So we're still very much in evidence-based, but we're we're broadening to other disciplines who are doing the research. To bring into our practice as well, and I think that's why those interdisciplinary journals and organizations are just incredibly valuable.
SM: Absolutely. Lastly, because I want to be respectful of your time, what advice would you give for APPs of today to help them prepare for a successful future?
AG: One thing I would tell them is to be proud of what they are. Try not to let themselves be labeled by a broader label. APPs is a broader label, but it makes the NP and the PA invisible because it groups them. Be proud of the fact that you're a nurse practitioner, you're a physician associate, and make sure that people utilize what your hard earned label certification is. That's one of the first things, because I think that we worked so hard to not be mid-level, but there are still groups that try to continue to still hide us, make us invisible. I mean, the DEA is certainly one by still making us mid-level, but I think that being proud of our label, you know, I'm proud to be a nurse practitioner. My goddaughter is proud to be a physician associate.
The other advice I would give them is if you find that the practice you're in, you don't get the time to see your patients the way you want to, you don't find joy in how you're being able to care for your patients, look for a different practice. Don't stay somewhere where: A. you're under appreciated B. you're not allowed to function to the fullest extent of your education, and C. you don't have joy in what you're doing because there are plenty of physicians out there. It may mean that you have to look a little bit more, but I would really encourage everyone that those three things are critical to a long-term, successful career because you can find mentors outside of where you work, like the ThriveAP program.
I mean, it's a perfect example of an amazing program that helps people find what they need to go from being a graduate to being a successful provider. But I think that those three things make for a lifetime career and it can change as you go along too. That's one of the greatest advantages we have. We don't have to go back to school if we wanna change from orthopedics to family practice.
We have such a luxury with that, and I would just encourage everybody to keep their eyes open.
SM: I think that's incredibly sound, and wonderful advice. I think coming from you, someone who is clearly very passionate about what you do, and helping patients, and bringing light to this chronic morbidity, we could all do well with following some of your advice.
AG: I have one more thing that I would really like to recommend to people, and I think this is hard when they get out of school because they've got student debt, but your national organizations are working so hard to bring good education to you as part of your membership and also representing you on the hill trying to get rid of those barriers. Even if you don't want to be politically active, I would say to a new NP or PA, pay your dues so that there are people who can be politically active for you and get rid of these Medicare laws that prevent us from doing things, like ordering diabetic shoes. Utilize some of your funds to let your national organizations work for you.
SM: I think it kind of goes back to the point of being an active member of your community in whatever form.
AG: Absolutely. Right. It's, yep, absolutely.
SM: Empowering about the advanced practice community. Is it so expansive and when y'all get together things happen.
AG: Yes, exactly.
SM: Well with that, I want to thank you for your time today and thank you for sharing your incredible expertise and your advice. I know there are so many people out there that will really benefit from learning more from you and I know your time is very valuable, so I'm grateful that you joined us today.
AG: Sarah, thank you so much for inviting me to this interview. I really appreciate it.
SM: It is ThriveAP's honor, I promise. Thank you everybody for joining us today and stay tuned to meet more of our faculty and have a great day.
More About Angela Golden, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, FOMA
Dr. Golden, is a current fellow and past president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). She completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice at Arizona State University and has been an NP for over 20 years. She owns NP Obesity Treatment Clinic in Flagstaff, AZ. She earned OMAs NP/PA Certificate of Advanced Clinical Education and the Specialist Certification of Obesity Professional Education, an internationally recognized certification. She also is certified as a life coach and for Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
Dr. Golden has a great deal of experience as a consultant in the development of patient education materials, has recently authored a book, Treating Obesity in Primary Care and written peer reviewed articles, participated in research, and been interviewed by lay media on obesity treatment. She presents nationally and internationally with an emphasis on obesity, health policy, leadership and clinical care.