Post written by Wael Mourad, MD, MHCM, FAAFP, Chief Health Officer
Nurse Practitioners occupy a very significant portion of the health care work force in the United States.
What is a Nurse Practitioner (NP)?
An NP is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) and is a type of mid-level provider. A mid-level provider is a medical practitioner who independently sees and treats patients under the supervision of a physician (while in some select states, they are able to practice independently). They are trained to provide primary, specialty, acute and chronic care to patients of all ages.
What is the history behind NPs?
The discipline of nurse practitioners began in the 1960s and was initiated by Dr. Henry Silver, a physician, and Loretta Ford, RN, a nurse. In 1971, the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare formally recommended expanding the scope of nursing practice to be able to serve as primary care providers.
Do NPs practice only as primary care providers?
The answer is a resounding “No!” NPs practice in nearly all the medical subspecialties such as cardiology, pulmonology, nephrology and many more. We also have pediatric nurse practitioners and those who practice in highly acute settings such as the neonatal intensive care units. Related mid-level provider disciplines that nurses enter include midwifery and certified nurse anesthesiology (while not nurse practitioners, they are frequent members of the team).
How do NPs help form a great team?
In a great team, everyone has their role. At HPC, NPs come from a variety of backgrounds to serve our patients in a primary care role. They can care for a great variety of presentations and ailments. If the patient becomes too complex, the patient can then be seen by the physician. This allows patients to be cared for in a caring and cost-effective way that utilizes everyone’s skill to its maximum.
Do NPs bring anything to the table that physician’s do not?
Absolutely. Nurses have a different training background than physicians. Nurses are traditionally closer to the patient than are physicians. They are more in tune with patients’ needs in many respects, and this allows potentially more opportunity to establish rapport with patients, as well as advocate for their needs.
We are so grateful for our NPs at HPC. Thank you, Tony Anno, DNP, ACNP-BC, APRN; Maureen Caro, FNP-BC; Jennifer Miller, FNP-BC; Andrea Scott, FNP-BC; Rebecca Turner, MSN, APRN, FNP-C; Whitney Venegoni, APRN, FNP-C; Gwenyth Wagner, DNP, APRN; and Patti West, DNP, APRN. By forming a great team that works together, that is how we best take care of our patients!