Have you visited a nurse practitioner? Are you thinking of becoming one?
A nurse practitioner is often the main provider of care for some people and in some clinics. While there are doctors on call, the nurse practitioner(s) in the office are in charge of the day to day work loads. These nurses have extensive medical training and are practically doctors, though there are a few differences. Both have lengthy education processes and both have a number of degrees associated with their titles.
Doctors have training in identifying and treating disease or injuries. Nurses have a more holistic approach to care that does not just involve the identification and treatment of a disorder. The nurse practitioner will examine all parts of a patient’s life in order to help find the cause behind a certain ailment. Doctors are more likely to prescribe a treatment option such as medication or a series of intensive blood tests, while a nurse may ask for a full family history, talk to the patient about their recent lives, and then move on to treatment options.
Nurse practitioners are not ‘under’ a doctor – in relation to degree. The two fields are similar, but the degrees are not related. A nurse practitioner does not ‘go back to school’ to get ‘promoted’ to a doctor’s degree. In fact, a nurse practitioner may already hold a doctorate!
In many states, nurse practitioners can write prescriptions, order x-rays, blood work, and other items that were once in the realm of physicians. Other states require that the nurse practitioner work with or under a doctor or they restrict the type of medications that can be prescribed.
The nursing community sees a rise in hires and in wages coming. There are millions of people that will be needing the services of all healthcare professionals, but there are not enough doctors to serve them all. The nurse practitioner opens the door to lower costs for hospitals, patients, and clinics. As these health professionals try to seek the root cause behind a health issue, they are less likely to just issue a prescription or test before fully understanding the patient’s unique dynamic.
Nurse practitioners are here to stay and the field will continue to grow as the need for affordable healthcare continues to grow.