When you go to the doctor’s office, you may actually see a nurse practitioner. This is not a negative scenario, as this registered nurse has advanced training and knowledge. A practitioner may even provide care you would not get from a doctor. If you decide to select a primary care nurse practitioner, you can have…
What a Family Care Nurse Practitioner Does
With the increasing complexities of health care, nurse practitioner are becoming a major force in primary care practices. Nurse practitioners got their roles in the early 1960s. Over time, the roles have changed from being an assistant to handling the patient’s healthcare requests when the primary care doctor is not available.
The roles of a nurse practitioner
Nurse practitioners have a long record of caring for patients and informing them about their illness and practical steps to take for improvements. They help patients manage acute and chronic illnesses. They handle physical examinations and conduct diagnostic tests and treatments. Nurse practitioners in family practice handle the diagnosis and treatment of patients across all ages.
The functions of the nurse practitioner are fast evolving alongside that of medical doctors, with increasing opportunities in specialty medicine serving as the leading force for health practitioners.
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced training. Aside from surgical procedures, nurse practitioners are licensed under state guidelines to render many of the services provided by doctors. These services include diagnosis and treatment of medical issues, handling prenatal care, pediatric and adult checkups, diagnosis and management of minor trauma, as well as suturing and splinting, prescribing meds and teaching patients about health and disease prevention.
Each state in the US has rules on a nurse practitioner’s scope of responsibilities regarding what drugs they can prescribe and services they can render. In many states, they can prescribe every medication, including controlled substances. In some states, they cannot prescribe any controlled substances. Different states also regulate the nurse’s ability to work independently. Many lobbying processes on the state level are directed at getting professional autonomy.
There remains a long-standing debate on independent nursing practices, but the increasing demand for medical services is a major enabler for nurse practitioners. The high patient load, coupled with a potential shortage of primary care doctors, has placed more attention on how nurse practitioners can help to bridge the gap for primary healthcare needs.
Nurse practitioners essentially contribute to healthcare through a patient-oriented approach. The goal is to create high-quality and cost-effective care and not to replace primary care doctors.
Family nurse practitioners handle patients with the knowledge of the essence of collaborative, family-centered care. From their perspective, the family is the patient; therefore, the person is treated based on their family background.
Aside from focusing on family dynamics, a family care nurse practitioner maintains referral and consultative dealings with other healthcare providers such as doctors, psychologists and pharmacists. Effective collaborative care ensures improved healthcare management, positive health results and better communication. A nurse practitioner learns to work with other healthcare professionals to assist their patients.
In the past, the family doctor handled all the work and made the necessary calls. Nowadays, it is more of a team effort. The nurse practitioner is just as crucial to the healthcare team as the physician.
A family care nurse practitioner takes time to assess their patient’s history, challenges and goals. They can then create a detailed, concise and actionable treatment plan that ensures patients get the highest quality, personalized care possible.
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