What Does A Nurse Practitioner Do?
While choosing a career, it is imperative that we know the exact job. This is especially true for the medical field, since the job descriptions of so many professions in this field are similar. A Nurse Practitioner is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). This means that they can perform a range of specialized activities that a nurse can’t. The job duties of an NP vary from one specialization to another. Let us look at the general job duties and that of their specializations.
General Job Duties
A nurse practitioner usually works under the supervision of a physician or someone of the same level. They can diagnose and treat patients like a primary healthcare provider. They can also order certain tests and medical procedures to be conducted. They interpret these results and consult with the patient. Sometimes, they are also allowed to assist a physician in surgery whether as the surgeon or an anesthetist. Some high-risk cases are also handled by them.
Nurse practitioners take a patient centered approach to treatment. This means that they focus more on the patients’ needs and wants while treating them. They want to prevent the disease rather than cure it and thus advise the patient to take the necessary steps to do so. Thus, a huge role of NPs is to consult patients on how to prevent injuries and illnesses.
A nurse practitioner is generally supposed to take up some or the other kind of specialty before taking the licensure exam. The specific duties of an NP depend on this specialization that they have chosen. Let us look at some of the popular choices and their job duties.
These NPs take care of the whole family. They can treat people of all ages and discuss ways to prevent diseases with the family. They also provide direct care to the family in collaboration with a physician.
Psychiatric nurse practitioners work with a group of people who have mental issues. They can practice as therapists and sometimes prescribe appropriate medicine. However, they are not allowed to perform psychological testing. They can choose to look at the results from the testing and then work with a professional psychologist or psychiatrist to determine a treatment plan for the patient.
As the name suggests, pediatric NPs look after kids of all ages – from newborn babies to 18-year old kids. A subspecialty is a neonatal NP. These people look after infants and work at Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs). Pediatric NPs also help kids transition through puberty as this may be a difficult time for some. They are also responsible for immunizations.
A gerontology nurse practitioner specializes in the healthcare of old people. They educate them about disease prevention and manage any illnesses they might have. Since old age is often the onset of many diseases, it is their responsibility to look after the old people and reduce the progress of such diseases as much as possible. They are also responsible for coming up with fitness plans for such people who will need it to live for an extended period.
These are just some of the specializations of a nurse practitioner. There are several others that an NP might try to get into according to his or her own interests. Each of these specializations offers a different amount of salary. One of the highest paying specializations is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Now that you now the different roles that your job may entail, you can make an informed decision about your career choice. If you do choose to be a nurse practitioner, this should have helped you narrow down a specialty that you want to choose.