I get this question a fair amount, though less frequently than I used to! Nurse practitioners are more common in healthcare than they used to be. Which I think is wonderful because we provide excellent and compassionate care.
A nurse practitioner is a licensed and certified healthcare provider. We have advanced clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating a range of health conditions, with a focus on disease prevention and health management. We are licensed by state but sit for national certifications. We are able to practice autonomously in many states. We have a focus on health education and counseling, disease prevention and health promotion, as we have been trained under the nursing model of care.
The nursing model of care is considered both an art and a science. At the heart of nursing is a fundamental respect for human life, and a compassion for human suffering. We are trained in health promotion and with a whole-persons approach to health and wellness.
Incorporating this nursing model of care, nurse practitioners can meet most of your healthcare needs. We can provide care in many specialties, including primary care, acute care, women’s health, psychiatric/mental health and more. At a minimum, we have four years of undergraduate study, followed by at least 1-2 years working as a registered nurse, then an additional 2-4 of schooling to obtain a master’s or a doctorate degree.
In New Hampshire, where I practice, nurse practitioners have autonomous practice. We can diagnose, assess, treat, provide orders and prescribe medications. We can open our own medical practice if we want, or work for an organization. For me, it is an honor to be a part of an organization of professionals with skill and expertise, as well as deep compassion and caring for others.
I hope this answered your question if you’re someone who has wondered what a nurse practitioner is.