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What is a Nurse Practitioner? By Sarah Clawson, CNP
June 2, 2015

There is an increase in the overall population, aging baby boomers, and newly insured under the Affordable Care Act.  These factors will bring millions more into the health care system, adding to the primary care shortage dilemma facing America today.  Because of this shortage, nurse practitioners are playing an ever increasing role in providing primary care.

 

What is a nurse practitioner?

 

  • A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse who has received advance training in preventive care, physical examination, diagnosing and treating illnesses.  The educational background of an NP can vary, but typically an NP has a master's degree in nursing.  Some NPs have a degree in nursing on the doctorate level.

 

What can nurse practitioners do?

 

  • DIAGNOSE and manage short illnesses, ongoing medical conditions and minor injuries.
  • PERFORM physical assessments and examinations
  • ORDER and interpret laboratory and diagnostic testing
  • PRESCIBE medications
  • TEACH patients about medical conditions, medications and how to promote wellness.

 

NPs have played an important role in the health care team since the 1960’s.  An NP may practice independently and manage patients as a primary provider.  Many NPs maintain close collaborative relationships with doctors and consult them when needed.  NPs are licensed in all 50 states and can write prescriptions for most medications.

 

Why see an NP?

 

  • Although doctors have additional training to help patients deal with complex medical problems, many people feel that NPs are able to spend more time with their patients.
  • An NP’s training focuses on treating the patient with an emphasis on disease prevention and health maintenance through patient education.
  • In many cases, it is easier to get a timely appointment with an NP.
  • Patients report very high levels of satisfaction with the care they receive from an NP.

 

 For more information about nurse practitioners please visit www.aanp.org.  Madison Health is pleased to offer the services of family nurse practitioners as well as family physicians at both primary care locations.  To schedule an appointment at Madison Health Primary Care of London please call 740-845-7500.  To schedule at Madison Health Primary Care of West Jefferson please call 614-879-8141.

 

Sarah Clawson is a certified nurse practitioner at Madison Health Primary Care of London. 

 

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