Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Nurse Practioner?

A nurse practioner (NP) is a registered nurse who has received specialized training (often at a graduate level) in diagnosing and treating illnesses and providing health care maintenance. Many are family nurse practioners, and some specialize in other areas including pediatric/child health.

NPs work in all 50 states and Washington, DC, in many health care settings. They can work independently in their own health care offices or in collaboration with physicians; they also may work in clinics, hospitals, outpatient facitlies, nursing homes, schools, businesses, correctional facilites, or in home health care agencies.

NPs are qualified to:

  • obtain health histories and perform physical exams
  • diagnose and treat common illnesses and injuries
  • recognize complicated medical conditions that require referral
  • manage chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure
  • order and interrupt diagnostic tests, including lab tests and x-rays
  • prescribe medications and other treatments
  • give advice on how to prevent disease
  • give vaccinations
  • refer to community resources and agencies

NPs will take the time to assess how your lifestyle affects your health. NPs work with their patients to prevent illness and promote healthy lifestyle choices. They concentrate on early detection of illness and emphasize disease prevention by providing education for patients.