Nurse Practitioner?

Just out of curiosity. :think: Can a “nurse practitioner” diagnose, prescribe meds, etc. to patients. Are “nurse practitioners” that well prepared? No offense to anyone, I am just curious. I just had a terrible episode of tonsilitis and decided to go to the DR. A nurse interviewed me and took my temperature and blood preasure and left me there. A while later a nurse practitioner entered and introduced herself. She seemed very capable and it was a good experience. I just kept wondering if it is OK to substitute the doctor by a nurse practitioner.

I think for basic stuff, they’re more than qualified. The last time I went to the doctor, I saw one and she was great. The biggest plus was that I expected to have to wait for weeks to get an appointment, yet I got in the next day. It was just for a review and renewal of meds, but I had some questions and concerns and she addressed them as well as the doctor.

She changed and renewed my prescriptions on her own, too.

Nurse nurse practitioners are really qualified. I am pretty sure most specialize in one field or another so they end up really knowing their stuff. My pediatrician was a nurse practitioner. My gyn is also a nurse practitioner. She does everything prescribes, examines,diagnose, delivers babies, etc. I think the only caveat is she has to work with a Dr. as in she can’t have her own practice. Come to think of it my mom sees a NP for her arthritis. She see the Dr once a year and her Np for all the other appointments.

Nurse Practitioners start as RN’s with a BSN degree who go on to get their Masters in some area of expertise. The Masters could take 2-3 years of additional study depending on the area. It always includes clinical practice. Often times they actually worked as a nurse before becoming an NP so they are very experienced. Nurse practitioners tend to have a more holistic whole person approach. Their prescription priviledges may very from state to state. They do have to work under the supervsion of an MD. I have seen some practice very autonomously and others work with more direct guidance of the doctor- I’m sure it varies from practice to practice.
Usually a visit with an NP is a very positive one.

I’ve only had positive experience with them. I found this if it helps.

i’m a RN and i would PREFER to see a NP over and MD/DO any day. you can usually get in right away, and they can prescribe most drugs excluding narcotics. if you need a narc, the MD/DO they work with writes it for you. NP’s even do hospital rounds. :wink:

i’ve given serious consideration to pursuing my NP degree.

I’ve had good experiences with them myself. I had one catch a serious problem in my lower back after two different doctors had totally missed it.

I did have one bad experience with a NP. He talked to me as if I were an idiot, insisted my sick baby would be fine, and told me I should take him back home. I knew he was very sick and badly dehydrated, so I refused to leave the office until a doctor came in to look at him. Long story short, my son had to be hospitalized for three days.

We don’t have nurse practitioners here and I so wish we did! Every single little thing has to be looked at by a doctor. In the past 10 years, I probably had reasons to see a doctor maybe 2-3 times. All the other times I saw my doctor, I’m 100% sure a nurse would have been more than qualified, if not better, to do the same job. :shrug:

We will have nurse practitioners soon, the doctor’s professional association finally allowed it. :roll: I admire doctors, and most of them are competent but this kind of corporatist attitude makes me so angry! :wall:

As a womens health nurse practitioner student and nurse midwifery student, I guess I am biased, but NPs are highly qualified in their speciality. Newamy had it right, NPs have master’s degrees, some doctorates. As of 2015, all entering NPs must have doctorates to practice (the rest are grandfathered in… thank god, because I don’t think I can handle more school now!). NPs practice is governed by the state nurse practice act, so what they can do and prescribe varies. Some states do allow NPs to be independent in their practice, while others require supervising MDs. All NPs can assess, diagnose, treat, etc, and are taught what their scope of practice is so that they refer to an MD when something is out of their league, so to speak.

Advanced practice nurses tend to spend more time with patients, and studies have shown that many people prefer them over MDs in several ways: the time they spend, how they listen, and the time they take to actually teach patients. Of course there will always be bad apples in the bunch, but most are excellent. My mother saw the NP in her MDs office for a sick visit (the doctor was unavailable, as always) and wasn’t happy about that. But when she went to the visit, she immediately left the office knowing that she would always go to the NP in place of the MD. She felt her care was better. This NP manages her chronic health conditions and annual exams and screenings.

We love our NP at the pediatrician. we see the MD for “serious” stuff but the NP seems so much more approachable, she really listens, and takes more time with us. and when she felt we needed an MD, she made sure we saw one. I often request her for the inevitable sore throats and minor cough/ fever/ tummy aches that K gets.

We just are never sure how to address her- Nurse Debby? Dr Debby? Ms Debby? (we usually go for Ms.)

so- nurses out there- what is the right way to address the NP?

Wow! I have learned a lot reading all your posts! :thumbsup: Thanks a lot to everyone for the information. NOW I know :muah:

I am a nurse, and I (whenever possible) see a NP for all mine and my families medical needs. When I have a problem with a single specific problem with a single specific body part, I will go to a Dr. that specializes in that area IF my NP cannot guess it right from my history and info.
Drs take care of Parts, Nurses take care of people. GPs (General Practitioners) are the exception, and the best of those used to be Nurses anyway

my Next DO visit will be about my Wasp Allergy. When I had my LEEP I had a BAD reaction to the Epi in the Lidocaine used to numb my cervix. But I will have to stop using my adult strength Epi Pen, and I will have to use an Epi Junior (as a first step) and a full epi pen as a second step (If and only IF I need a second dose)

All of this was figured out by nurses, NP and Pharmacists. the only reason I M going to the DO is to confirm I still have the allergic reaction that necessitates the Epi pen at all.


I try to see the NP when I can. Both of my docs have really, really great NPs that I adore. They listen, have a sense of humor and are extremely knowledgeable. I would rather see them than the doctors anyday.

Not a nurse yet, but I think i have an answer sort of. It depends on the NP. My pediatrician NP 20 some years ago we called Nurse Wimmer (her last name). My gyn NP introduced herself as Katie and that is what I call her. My mom’s NP also just has people call her by her first name. It probably wouldn’t hurt to ask Nurse Debby what she prefers to be called.

what holly just said. she beat me to it. :wink:

I’m not an NP but I work with several in our office, and they seem to be much more approachable than some of our docs. The docs are just so busy that it can literally take more than 6 months to get an appointment but you can get in much sooner with the NPs. I work in endocrinology/diabetes and 3 of 6 of our NPs actually have had diabetes since childhood which I think helps them understand more what the patients are going through.

And Mary, all of the NPs I work with go by their first names.

ecb said: “Drs take care of Parts, Nurses take care of people”

This is a great quote:thumbsup:–you are absolutely right, the doctor is more interested in “fixing” the parts, while the nurse/nps seem more interested in the person and how the condition, sickness, disease, etc. will effect the WHOLE person.