These days, it’s not uncommon to feel rushed at a doctor’s appointment. Medical clinics tend to be extremely busy places, so providers are continually looking for ways to serve an increasing number of patients who need care.
Fortunately, the world of medicine continues to adapt to changing demands, and the addition of nurse practitioners into area medical clinics is improving access to patient care.
What is a nurse practitioner? A registered nurse with graduate-level education that allows them to provide care you might think you could only get from a doctor.
For example, nurse practitioners may provide services such as:
-Diagnostic and treatment of most common and chronic illnesses
-Health and wellness counseling
-Screenings and referrals
-Prescriptions for medications
Nurse practitioners first obtain degrees as registered nurses (RNs). Many have extensive nursing experience as RNs before going on to complete a nurse practitioner (NP) program. These programs include many hours of clinical training under the guidance of a credentialed nurse practitioner or physician.
It takes about two years to complete an NP program, followed by state or national certification exams. Oregon was one of the first states to require a master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner. The state requires an advanced degree because nurse practitioners provide similar care to that of a physician.
Like physicians, nurse practitioners may choose to specialize in nearly all areas of health care, including:
-Family and adult health
If you are looking for a primary care provider, consider seeing a nurse practitioner. Most likely, you’ll find they can meet your medical needs and provide important health education to help you be your best.