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JoLynn Shinsako, PA-C, MS, associate vice chair of clinical affairs for advanced practice providers (APPs)

JoLynn Shinsako Named Associate Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs for APPs for the CU Department of Surgery

Shinsako aims to give the 175+ advanced practice practitioners a voice on the executive team.

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Written by Carie Behounek on March 12, 2024

To support the growing number of advanced practice providers at the University of Colorado Department of Surgery, JoLynn Shinsako, PA-C, MS, has been promoted to the new role of associate vice chair of clinical affairs for advanced practice providers (APPs).

Over the past decade, the number of APPs supporting clinical care in the Department of Surgery has tripled. Though growth has been significant, APPs didn’t have specific representation at the executive level.

“When APPs as a group faced challenges with staffing models or turnover, we didn’t have an avenue to effectively describe our problems to leadership,” says Shinsako, assistant professor of transplant surgery.

Now, Shinsako will represent the 175+ nurse practitioners and physician assistants providing patient care. She’ll help the department navigate issues that arise in clinical practice while working to create a cohesive culture across the organization.

The journey from PA school to CU faculty

Shinsako grew up in Colorado. She went to school in Chicago to become a physician assistant and started her career working in the emergency department of a community hospital. While she loved caring for patients, it wasn’t until she got a position at an academic hospital that she felt fully supported. So when life presented the opportunity to move back to Colorado and work for CU, she jumped at the opportunity.

Shinsako took a role in transplant surgery on the overnight shift. This was a turning point in her career for two reasons:

First, she discovered a deep love for transplant surgery.

“I had never felt so inspired to be in medicine than when I started in transplant,” she says.

Second, working the night shift gave her access to opportunities she may not have had working days.

“The willingness to work overnight has catapulted my career,” she says. “It gave me a chance to become a point person for a huge need, which grew into more opportunity. The night shift is the catalyst of how all this started.”

Serving the APP team through collaboration

Clinical care continues to be what “fills her cup,” Shinsako says. But she's excited to get to know her APP peers across the sites of the Department of Surgery.

Shinsako says she has a good understanding of the challenges faced at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. But she’s anxious to learn more about the experiences of APPs at the surgery department’s other locations.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know more of the APPs across the division,” she says. “I’m looking at how we might bring in the satellite hospitals to feel like one cohesive department.”

It’s also what she finds most challenging about her new role. She’s studying lessons learned in remote workforces to help build a culture of cohesiveness across sites.

She’s also facing the challenge of this position being a new role at the hospital. Though she has goals and a vision, she’s still learning about possible benchmarks for success.

 “I want to make sure that the measures of success I have personally align with the vision others have for this role.”

What APPs can expect from her leadership

Shinsako’s overarching goal is for her fellow APPs to feel like they have a strong voice within the executive committee of the Department of Surgery.

 “My ultimate goal is to successfully create that avenue, with both parties feeling appropriately supported.”

 She acknowledges this could take some time, given the large number of APPs and their continued growth within the organization.

 “I want all APPs to know that I’m very accessible, and I’m here to support them and work through the problems we face together.”

Topics: Leadership