What Is a Nurse Practitioner?

| Patient Education

You may notice there are different kinds of medical professionals you can see for primary care. You’re likely familiar with medical doctors (MD), but advanced practice providers (APP) such as nurse practitioners (NP) are another provider you can see to assist in your healthcare journey.

What's the Difference between a Medical Doctor and a Nurse Practitioner?

An NP is a certified clinician with expertise in health conditions and preventative care. To compare, an MD is a licensed physician with a deep understanding of their specialty. The extent of education and services between these careers sets them apart.

Individuals studying to become an NP or MD take postgraduate-level courses that prepare them for a variety of settings in healthcare. Each plan of study varies in length. Usually, an NP will complete their postgraduate studies in about 2 years. During that time they do coursework and have hands-on experiences in clinical environments. Areas of medicine they can choose to specialize in include acute care, family health, and many other options.

Similarly, an MD specializes in an area of medicine that interests them, but their postgraduate education extends into a 3 to 7-year residency. Here, they practice and research to gain additional expertise that qualifies them for more capabilities. That being said, NPs have a wealth of knowledge and capacity for care, making them great contributors to Schneck Primary Care.

Services a Nurse Practitioner Provides

Working alongside fellow healthcare providers, NPs collaboratively and independently provide guidance and services that promote better health among their patients. Per state regulations, an NP can usually provide the following services.

  • Order/interpret tests
  • Prescribe medications
  • Diagnose/treat conditions
  • Recommend treatments
  • Educate patients
A doctor on the phone

Nurse Practitioners are Resources

Nurse practitioners support those around them by fulfilling roles in administration, education, and research. Efforts from NPs are helping to alleviate primary care shortages in the United States. With intensive education and national certification, NPs reduce patient costs with preventative primary care initiatives. They work to promote better health by educating patients about the impacts of lifestyle choices. Taking action to make your health yours is financially and physically rewarding in the long run. A visit with an NP can teach you a lot about your health and benefit you in multiple ways.

Receive Supportive Care

Schneck's team of talented healthcare providers shows every patient personalized support with the help of expert NPs. Visit a provider at Schneck Primary Care who will work with you toward your personal health goals.

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Kirby Stacks

About the Author

Kirby E. Stacks NP-C

Kirby Stacks is a certified family nurse practitioner with Schneck Primary Care.