Your primary care provider (PCP) forms the foundation of your healthcare team, serving as a trusted source for navigating the healthcare system and finding specialists that range from surgeons to therapists.
However, there’s an urgent need for primary care services in the United States. The good news? Nurse practitioners (NPs)
, also commonly referred to as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) or family nurse practitioner-certified (FNP-C), are helping to close this gap. The growing popularity of NPs as PCPs is making it easier to access quality healthcare. In fact, nationwide, patients choose NPs for more than one billion visits annually.
What is a Nurse Practitioner?
Nurse practitioners are trained, licensed healthcare providers who concentrate on managing a patient's health conditions. They treat injuries and illnesses, and support wellness and prevention. (American Association of Nurse Practitioners)
Licensed as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), nurse practitioners usually specialize in a specific medical area, such as family practice, pediatrics or women's health.
What’s the difference between an MD, DO and NP?
- A Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) are both able to diagnose conditions, treat patients for all ailments and write prescriptions. In addition to a four-year college degree, MDs and DOs are required to have an additional four years of medical training (medical school), plus another three-to-five years of more specialized training (residency). While both degrees mean your doctor is a licensed physician, their training differs slightly. DO programs require additional osteopathic manipulation medicine training, which focuses on the musculoskeletal system.
- A nurse practitioner (NP) works without the supervision of a MD or DO in New Hampshire and is able to diagnose and treat patients, as well as write prescriptions. An NP is a registered nurse who has completed a four-year college degree. Additionally, NPs are required to complete an advanced degree nurse practitioner program, typically a master’s of science degree in nursing, and expanded competencies and skills. An NP is licensed by the Board of Nursing, whereas a MD and DO is licensed by the Board of Medicine.
The goal remains the same:
While the face of primary care has evolved over the years into a highly-trained and expertly educated team of medical professionals collaborating together, the pursuit to give you the best healthcare experience possible has not changed.
Can my Nurse Practitioner do that?
- Provide physical exams? Yes!
- Diagnose illnesses? Yes!
- Write prescriptions? Yes!
- Order and interpret tests? Yes!
- Order physical therapy? Yes!
- Conduct patient counseling? Yes!
- Refer to a specialist? Yes!