Family nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses who perform many of the same functions as physicians. These practitioners are able to treat and diagnose diseases and conditions and prescribe medicines, and they serve as primary care providers (PCPs) for some insurance companies . Family nurse practitioners work with patients of all ages, from young children to older adults. They often serve as patients' first point of contact in the health care system, helping diagnose and treat common medical issues and providing referrals to specialists as needed. Nurse practitioners may also prescribe medication or alter dosages in accordance with a doctor's diagnosis.
Family nurse practitioners typically work in cooperative practice with physicians and fulfill a complimentary role to the traditional medical care that doctors provide. For instance, they often use doctors' diagnoses and work to incorporate the patient's home environment, family and mental well-being into a treatment plan. They may go into detail regarding treatment options with the patient and help recommend the best options. Additionally, family nurse practitioners may suggest diet changes, exercise options and the cessation of habits such as smoking.
To work as a nurse practitioner, a person must first complete the educational requirements to practice as a registered nurse, followed by post-graduate work that includes intensive medical training and may include an internship or residency.
Family Nurse Practitioner (NP) Tasks
Order and interpret test results and recommend treatment of patients.
Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment and counsel patients.
Prescribe therapy or medication with physician approval.
Administer therapeutic procedures.
Provide physicians with assistance during surgery or complicated medical procedures.