Monday, February 25, 2013

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Patients often ask what a Nurse Practitioner (NP) is and the training behind the degree.  A NP is a Registered Nurse (RN) who has completed either a Masters or Doctorate degree with an emphasis on diagnosing and treating medical problems.  The additional training includes classroom work and clinical rotations through a variety of specialties and settings.  After graduation, the NP must pass a certification test and apply for a state license.  A NP’s scope of practice includes examining patients, ordering and interpreting lab and diagnostic tests, performing procedures, diagnosing medical conditions, and prescribing medication.  

For over 50 years NP’s have been providing high quality, cost effective care to the public.  They work in a variety of settings, including ERs, hospitals, medical offices, and urgent care clinics.  According to many government and private studies, NP’s provide the same quality care of a physician and are often able to spend more time with their patients.  From their nursing experience, an emphasis is placed on patient education, preventative medicine, and patient advocacy. 

Written by:

Jennifer Eickhoff, FNP-BC, MSN, ATC, LAT

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