What is a Nurse Practitioner?
A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is a Registered Nurse with advanced training and skills in the areas of health assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of common episodic illnesses as well as chronic disease. The NP works within a scope of practice set forth by the Texas Board of Nursing. Their practice is based on a holistic approach and they work collaboratively with many other health professionals.
NPs are quickly becoming the health partner of choice for millions of Americans. As clinicians that blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management, NPs bring a comprehensive perspective to health care. Read on and learn why Americans make over 870 million visits to NPs every year.
What Services Can Nurse Practitioners Provide?
Diagnose and treat illnesses such as flu, infections and other sicknesses
Diagnose and treat chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, infections
Diagnose and treat injuries and topical disorders
Order and interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and x-rays
Provide treatments and/or procedures
Write prescriptions and monitor chronic conditions
Perform physical check-ups
Make referrals to specialists
Education & Training
All NPs must complete a master's or doctoral degree program, and have advanced clinical training beyond their initial professional registered nurse preparation. Didactic and clinical courses prepare nurses with specialized knowledge and clinical competency to practice in primary care, acute care and long-term health care settings.
To be recognized as expert health care providers and ensure the highest quality of care, NPs undergo rigorous national certification, periodic peer review, clinical outcome evaluations, and adhere to a code for ethical practices. Self-directed continued learning and professional development is also essential to maintaining clinical competency. Additionally, to promote quality health care and improve clinical outcomes, NPs lead and participate in both professional and lay health care forums, conduct research and apply findings to clinical practice.
What sets NPs apart from other health care providers is their unique emphasis on the health and well-being of the whole person. With a focus on health promotion, disease prevention, and health education and counseling, NPs guide patients in making smarter health and lifestyle choices, which in turn can lower patients' out-of-pocket costs.