What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do?
A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who has completed additional training and education, typically a Master's or Doctorate in Nursing. NPs are qualified to perform many of the same functions as physicians. They can diagnose and treat medical conditions, prescribe medications, and manage patient care. Nurse Practitioners work in a variety of specialties, including family practice, pediatrics, geriatrics, women's health, and acute care.
NPs focus on patient-centered care and often provide a comprehensive approach that includes health promotion, disease prevention, and health education and counseling. They are known for spending time with patients to understand their health needs and concerns fully.
To practice, Nurse Practitioners must be licensed in their state and pass a national certification exam. They work in a range of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, private practices, clinics, schools, and nursing homes. Depending on the state, NPs may practice independently or in collaboration with a physician.
Nurse Practitioners play a vital role in healthcare delivery, especially in areas with shortages of physicians. They provide accessible and quality care, often serving as a patient's primary healthcare provider. Their advanced training and patient-centered focus make them essential in the evolving landscape of healthcare.