Think About Using A Nurse Practitioner For Your PCP
When you are looking for a new primary care physician (PCP), you have a lot of options. You can choose to go with an MD (doctor of medicine), a DO (doctor of osteopathy), or a nurse practitioner. You might not know what a nurse practitioner is or what their differences from a doctor are.
A nurse practitioner (NP) is one step down from a doctor. The NP has gone through a lot of schooling. First, they have to go through training to become a registered nurse (RN). Once they graduate from an RN program, they will join another program that will give them the extra training they need to become a nurse practitioner. After the training, the NP will have to pass licensing exams between the RN and NP stage, and then again after they finish their NP training. By the time they have completed all the schooling, training, and licensing, the NP will be able to do just about everything that a doctor can do.
NPs can work in every medical setting, from direct patient care to administration. A nurse practitioner can be the primary care provider for people, either their medical or mental health. The NP may also work in emergency or urgent care medicine. They can also help to run residential facilities or other medical programs. Like a doctor, nurse practitioners can also write prescriptions. In some states, they can only do that under the supervision of a licensed doctor. If the NP has to have a doctor's supervision to write some or all of their prescriptions, they generally have to tell the doctor a brief history of the patient and why this particular medication will work best for that patient. Then the doctor will either sign the prescription or give an alternative medication that might work better.
NP vs. MD
The most significant difference between a nurse practitioner and a medical doctor is that the doctor has to go through more education. In general, an NP has around eight years of training, while a doctor may have at least ten years, possibly up to fourteen, depending on the doctor's certifications. It is usually quicker and easier to see an NP than to get an appointment with an MD.
If you are looking for a new primary care medical provider, you should consider signing up with a nurse practitioner. They can do almost everything you would need to have done in a medical setting.
Contact a local nurse practitioner program to learn more.