A nurse practitioner is nothing short of being a doctor in many settings. Although a nurse in title, the nurse practitioner has more education than a typical registered nurse; therefore, they are capable and licensed to do much more. This includes caring for a wide range of patients from babies to senior citizens. They go beyond what a registered nurse would do by diagnosing and treating patients for many common ailments the same way a doctor would. They also can prescribe medication in all 50 states of the nation, order lab tests as well as interpret the data to treat a patient. Much of what they do overlaps with what a general practitioner would do, so there are specific clinical settings where their work is done.
A Nurse Practitioner in Rural Settings
In the areas of the country where there are few people, there is a great demand for a doctor that is a general practitioner; however, the high salaries for a medical doctor are in specialty areas, so there is a small supply of general practitioners. This demand is being filled by the nurse practitioner. Because they are doing the work of a general M.D., they command some of the highest salaries in the field of nursing. Small towns and farm communities that would otherwise have no access to healthcare are able to get the care they need .
A Nurse Practitioner in Urban Areas
In many areas of the city where people are living in poverty and have no access or limited access to healthcare, you will find the nurse practitioner. They can be found working in clinics or in urban hospitals located in low income areas of the city. Often these are city or county funded clinics and healthcare facilities.
A Nurse Practitioner at Colleges and Workplace Health Centers
There is a need for doctors at large universities, but there is often a problem finding one to work on a permanent basis. A nurse practitioner solves this problem by performing all of the functions that are needed in a healthcare clinic located on or near the campus for students. Large corporations have found that health clinics and centers are a good investment for the workplace and are commonly staffed with one or more nurse practitioners.
A Nurse Practitioners in Hospital Networks
Private sector hospitals and medical groups have expanded their presence in the marketplace by setting up health clinics in suburban areas. They can even be found in affluent areas of a city. They are often found in shopping areas where there is a lot of consumer traffic. The purpose of these clinics is a low cost doctor’s visit for minor ailments. Many people do not have insurance to pay for a doctor’s visit while other people have high deductibles on their insurance policy. These clinics take insurance but offer low cost payments for a diagnosis and treatment. However, it is common not to have enough doctors to fill these positions needed, and they are staffed with a nurse practitioner that has the ability to diagnose and prescribe medication.
Healthcare is a rapidly growing industry and nurse practitioners are in demand. There is a shortage of medical doctors who are general practitioners, and this is not going to change. It is the nurse practitioner that is able to take the place of these doctors, and they are needed everywhere in the nation.