What is an NP?
A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse with advanced training in diagnosing and treating illnesses. Nurse practitioners prescribe medications, treat illness, and administer physical exams.
Most nurse practitioners specialize in a particular area of health care, such as care of children (pediatric nurse practitioner), older adults (geriatric nurse practitioner), people of all ages (family nurse practitioner), or people with mental health problems (psychiatric nurse practitioner). Some of the services they provide are:
- Obtain medical histories and perform physical examinations
- Provide immunizations and other preventative child care
- Diagnose and treat illnesses
- Identify, treat, and manage chronic diseases such as diabetes and arthritis
- Order and interpret diagnostic tests such as x-rays, blood work, and EKG's
- Prescribe medications
- Prescribe physical therapy, massage therapy, and other rehabilitation therapy
- Provide education to allow patients to make decisions about their own health
- Perform procedures
- Refer to other health care providers
Although, an NP can offer some of the same care provided by physicians they must maintain close working relationships with their supervising physician.