What is a Nurse Practitioner?
I am a Nurse Practitioner and an active member of the California Association for Nurse Practitioners, Channel Islands Chapter serving Ventura County.
Components of Practice
- Diagnosing, treating, evaluating and managing acute and chronic illness and disease (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure)
- Obtaining medical histories and conducting physical examinations
- Ordering, performing and interpreting diagnostic studies (e.g., routine lab tests, x-rays, EKGs)
- Prescribing physical therapy and other rehabilitation treatments
- Prescribing and furnishing medications for acute and chronic illness
- Providing prenatal care and family planning services
- Providing child wellness care, including screening and immunizations
- Providing primary, specialty and health maintenance care for adults, including annual physicals and certifying disability
- Providing care for patients in acute and critical care settings
- Performing or assisting in minor surgeries and procedures (e.g., dermatological biopsies, suturing, casting)
- Counseling and educating patients on health behaviors, self-care skills and treatment options
To become licensed to practice in California, NPs must complete an accredited NP program and be certified by the BRN. NPs specialize in many areas, including:
Acute Care Adult Health – Family Health – Emergency Services – Gerontology – Neonatal Health – Oncology – Pediatric / Child Health – Psychiatric / Mental Health – Women’s Health
NP training programs were first developed over 40 years ago due to a shortage of physicians. State governments sought innovative ways to meet the growing demand for primary health care services. Out of that demand, the NP profession has grown to fill an important and vital role in America’s health care system. Working hand-in-hand with other licensed health care professionals, NPs improve the responsiveness and efficiency of our health care system. Because of their focus on primary care, disease prevention and counseling, NPs serve as exclusive providers of primary care for many families. There are more than 18,000 NPs in California and more than 170,000 practicing NPs nationwide. Nearly 9,000 new NPs are trained each year at over 325 colleges and universities.
Where You May Find an NP
Hospitals and hospital clinics – Hospice care – Skilled nursing facilities – Medical groups private health care practices – Public health departments – School / college clinics – Veterans Administration facilities – Emergency room settings