A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has higher education and training in a particular area, and they have a master’s degree (MSN). They are able to provide primary, acute, and specialty healthcare services. Their advanced clinical training enables them to diagnose illnesses, treat conditions, and provide evidence-based health education to their patients. They are licensed to prescribe medications.
In their role, nurse practitioners assess their patients by examining medical histories; performing physical evaluations; and ordering (or performing) diagnostic tests. In addition to diagnosing patients, a nurse practitioner’s role includes developing individualized treatment plans, following up on courses of treatment, collaboration with other healthcare professionals, and maintaining detailed records. Like physicians, nurse practitioners must engage in continuing education (CE) to keep abreast of technological, methodological, and other developments in their field.
These professionals serve not only as healthcare providers to patients, but also as mentors, counselors, researchers, educators, and consultants.