Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner, also known as a NP, is a registered nurse with an advanced education and usually a minimum of a master’s degree. The requirements to become a nurse practitioner vary within all the different states and countries. Although an Associate degree in nursing, a Bachelor degree in nursing, and direct care for acutely or chronically ill patients are required everywhere. A nurse practitioner must have training in the diagnosis and management of common medical conditions and chronic illnesses. All nurse practitioners are licensed by the state they work in and have board certification from the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Nurse practitioners are required to provide a wide range of health care services although they are allowed to specialize in fields such as pediatrics, family practice, or adult care. Some are also allowed to be psychiatric clinicians and perform the work of a psychiatrist. Nurse practitioners provide the same care as physicians and normally collaborate with physicians. They can serve as regular health care providers and may prescribe medications and therapies to their patients. There are nurse practitioners in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. In twenty-nine states nurse practitioners are forced to work with physicians and in forty-nine states they are allowed to prescribe medications. A nurse practitioner can work in many different places such as community clinics, health departments, health care agencies, and walk-in clinics. They are also allowed to work in hospice centers and the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO’s).

Since a nurse practitioner’s job changes depending on where they work they have many different responsibilities they have to undertake. Some of them obtain medical histories and perform physical exams, others order, perform, and interpret diagnostic studies such as x-rays and lab tests, and they also prescribe physical therapy and some types of rehabilitation. Providing family planning services, child care, screenings, and immunizations also falls under their list of responsibilities. They are allowed to perform some minor surgeries and also provide counseling and education on health behaviors, self-care skills, and treatment options. Nurse practitioners take priority on prevention of diseases, wellness, and patient education.

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