What is a Nurse Practitioner?
Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who have education and training beyond that of a registered nurse (RN) generally through obtaining a master’s degree, licensure through the state board of nursing, and certification through a national examination. Nurse practitioners specialize in a variety of fields including family practice, woman’s health, pediatrics, and behavioral health. A nurse practitioner specializing in family practice provides care for patients of all ages across the lifespan promoting health and wellness as well as treating chronic and acute medical conditions.
Nurse practitioners treat acute medical problems such as sinusitis, as well as, chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Treatment begins with collection of a patient’s medical history and performance of a physical examination. Following a history and physical, nurse practitioners order and interpret laboratory and diagnostic testing, make diagnoses, refer to specialist providers, recommend physical and occupation therapy, and prescribe various medications. In addition to treatment of medical conditions, nurse practitioners promote wellness through providing immunizations, monitoring growth and development of pediatric patients and ensuring adequate control of various medical conditions through methods such as education and appropriate blood pressure and blood sugar control. According to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (2011), nurse practitioners have the ability to provide cost effective care with a combination of clinical expertise and an emphasis on holistic disease prevention and health management by providing care to patients in over 600 million patient visits each year.
Caitlin Werther, MSN, FNP-BC ( Board Certified Family Nurse Practioner)