Nurse practitioners, or NPs, are quickly growing in popularity in the United States. As a credentialed health partner, they bring a unique, personal experience to the patient journey.

A nurse practitioner is an advanced prepared nurse. Currently, there are more than 300,000 nurse practitioners who are practicing in the US alone. More than 75% work in a primary care setting. In fact it is very common to go to a primary care office and see an NP for your healthcare needs, whether it’s a wellness checkup, to manage a chronic disease, or to treat a patient with the flu.

In most states, NPs work autonomously which means more personalized treatment for you. They have their own patients and address whatever medical or wellness needs they have.

What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do?

A nurse practitioner is trained and credentialed to provide primary, specialty, and acute health care services such as:

  • Managing a patient’s overall care
  • Prescribing medications and treatments
  • Performing, ordering, and interpreting x-rays, lab work, and other diagnostic tests
  • Counseling
  • Treating and diagnosing chronic and acute conditions like infections, diabetes, injuries, and high blood pressure
  • Educating patients on making good lifestyle and health choices, disease prevention, and options for treatments

Although nurse practitioners are commonly found in primary care settings, they also practice in specialty areas like oncology, behavioral health, acute care, and family health.

What is the Difference Between a Doctor and a Nurse Practitioner?

While the nurse practitioner can do many things that a doctor can do, there are some differences. Doctors have more education, have an MD, and are licensed by the Medical Board in the state where they will practice. Nurse practitioners have fewer years of education, but two years more than registered nurses. They are licensed by the Nursing Board in the state where they will practice.

However, the difference is more than just a degree on the wall or the letters behind a name. It’s about the experience. Now patient experience can vary from provider to provider, but for the most part, nurse practitioners are more accessible, and more relationship-minded than other healthcare providers. The NP will take time to get to know the patient and establish a relationship with them. They will include the patient in their plan of care so they can work together to make decisions together about the patient’s health.

NPs tend to have a more holistic approach with a unique emphasis on the wellbeing and health of the whole person. They are mentors, coaches, and cheerleaders for their patients, helping them not only manage the health concerns they are currently facing, but also help prevent disease, make better lifestyle choices, and provide a lower out-of-pocket cost option for the patient.

What Kind of Education Do Nurse Practitioners Have to Have?

Nurse practitioners go through nursing school and become Registered Nurses (RNs). From there, they go back to school to continue their education and get a Master’s or Doctorate in nursing. They also have clinical training that is much more advanced than their RN training provided.

The NP takes upper-level courses that give them clinical competency and specialized knowledge that allows them to work in all types of healthcare settings including long-term care, acute care, and primary care.

Being a nurse practitioner offers a more personal healthcare experience. It allows more involvement between provider and patients which translated to better patient care. They are in a better position to affect outcomes for patients which makes healthcare personal and improves the patient journey.

At Sandstone Family Medicine our Nurse Practitioners work with all types of patients and deal with runny noses, hormone management, wellness plans, and a lot more. Find out how you can get personal with your healthcare and have a truly customized provider experience that is tailored just for you.

Call today or schedule an appointment online with an NP at Sandstone Family Medicine