What is a nurse practitioner?

A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse with advanced education and clinical training who delivers the same primary healthcare that doctors do. NPs diagnose, treat, prescribe, and manage acute and chronic illness, just like doctors. But NPs practice from a different perspective than doctors do. That is because their expertise is grounded in a nursing background. NP practice focuses on individualized care with an emphasis on prevention, wellness, and patient education. NPs are noted for spending more time with patients in order to establish trusting relationships. NPs excel at health teaching, managing acute and chronic disease, and coordinating complicated and complex treatment plans among multiple providers. NP care is focused comprehensively on the whole person rather than on a single problem.

The following, from American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, is a list of services NP’s provide:

  • Diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, infections and injuries
  • Order, perform and interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and x-rays
  • Prescribe medications and other treatments
  • Manage patients’ overall care
  • Spend time counseling patients
  • Help patients learn how their actions affect their health and well-being

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