Advanced practice registered nurses, or APRNs (or NPs for short), are highly trained nurses that have been certified to see patients and administer medical procedures without a doctor's supervision. One specialty that uses these nurses is women's health; the APRNs who work in this field are often called women's health nurse practitioners. The nurse practitioner — as a specialist in this area — may allow a clinic to administer to more patients than would normally be the case if it were top-staffed by doctors only.
Women's health nurse practitioners are primarily concerned with the variety of issues that concern female patients. They may administer mammograms and pap smears to assess a patient's risk for cancer, for example, and provide information to patients regarding pregnancy and reproductive health. The NP is typically one of the "point people" in regular contact with expecting mothers, performing sonograms and any required exams throughout the pregnancy. The nurse practitioner may work with mothers-to-be to assist them in their prenatal care regimen by making suggestions and answering questions as well. Nurse practitioners within this field typically work in a hospital or other health care facility.
To work as a women's health nurse practitioner, a person must first be certified as an APRN, which typically requires extensive education, testing and hands-on training in this field. Many employers for this position look for nurse practitioners with prior experience in women's health and reproductive and/or neonatal care.
Women's Health 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.