Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses who have gone through specialized graduate education. While they are not doctors, they have more responsibilities than registered nurses.
Nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medicines, order or perform diagnostic tests such as x-rays and other lab works. They can work either independently or as a member of healthcare team supervised by one or more physicians.
Nature of Work
The job of Nurse Practitioners is regulated by each state. Some states required nurse practitioners to be under doctor’s supervision while others allow them to work independently. They provide general medical treatment and care in clinics or health centers, prescribing medications, ordering, interpreting and evaluating diagnostic or therapeutic procedures in order to determine the patient’s medical care requirements. Nurse practitioners help identify, evaluate and take charge of health promotion procedures and disease preventive measures. They educate people about medical issues, and the proper use of prescription medicines and treatments. They keep confidential medical records of patients, documenting all evaluations, diagnoses, treatments and all other medical procedures received by patients in compliance with state and federal regulations. Based on the physical condition of the patient being treated, nurse practitioners prepare treatment and care plans in coordination with doctors and other healthcare professionals. They need to submit to their supervising physician the health care plan they devised for patients for review and evaluation. They also attend conferences and workshops to gain new knowledge and incorporate what they have learned into their clinical practice.
Nurse practitioners need a degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), as well as additional training in any other specialized nursing discipline. They must work as registered nurses to obtain the necessary experience and then get a master’s degree in nursing. They must also be certified nationally and licensed in the state where they work. To be licensed, they must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.