When we aren’t feeling well, waiting in line for the doctor is the last thing we want to do. Having the flu means taking the day off from work, seeing your doctor quickly, and resting for the remaining portion of the day. Instead, when you go to your doctor, you are greeted with a long line of other patients, and you realize that most of your day will be wasted waiting for your turn.
So what can you do? Can you go to a nurse practitioner instead of the doctor? Today we will answer your questions, but we first need to understand what a nurse practitioner is before we do.
Exactly what does a nurse practitioner do?
So what or who is a nurse practitioner? A nurse practitioner is a nurse who has been trained adequately and registered with the medical board. Nurse practitioners start their careers as ordinary nurses, and after a few years of experience, they are trained and licensed for the diagnostic and treatment process. In addition to their training, they may receive doctoral or master’s degrees. These days’ nurses who want to pursue their career in medical diagnostics are generally enrolling in higher education. Degrees such as online post masters DNP programs are an excellent kickstart for achieving this.
As time passes, nurse practitioners are providing care for more and more people as primary caregivers. As a result, many people think there is a lot more benefit in having a medical practitioner, i.e., NP as a primary caregiver than a doctor.
How are nurse practitioners different than a doctor?
Although their titles are different, nurse practitioners and doctors are more similar than you think. Nurse practitioners can perform virtually the same diagnostics and treatment processes as doctors.
However, what sets them apart is the training period. Although nurse practitioners have more training than ordinary nurses, they have less training than doctors. In any case, this is no reason to believe that nurse practitioners’ treatment is not as effective as that of doctors.
According to several experienced nurse practitioners, nurse practitioners can do pretty much anything that a doctor can do other than the exception of surgical processes. Many people prefer nurse practitioners over doctors. Because they have a shorter waiting time than doctors, many people prefer nurse practitioners over doctors. Additionally, as they have fewer patients than doctors, they can spend more time treating and diagnosing a single patient than a doctor. The end result is more satisfied patients.
It is easier to discuss and explain medical issues with a nurse practitioner than with a doctor because a nurse practitioner can give more individual attention. Consequently, this is one of the main reasons why many people prefer NPs. Similarly, some people go to nurse practitioners because of their significantly lower cost.
There is also a difference in their licenses. In the USA, for instance, the Nursing Board licenses nurse practitioners, while the Medical Board licenses physicians, i.e., MDs.
However, due to the shortage of physicians in the county, NPs are getting more attention from the patients now. Currently, primary care physicians in the US are in short supply.
According to the American Medical College Association, there could be a shortage of up to 120,000 physicians by 2030.
What can a nurse practitioner treat?
Okay, now we know what a nurse practitioner is and how they differ from doctors. But the question that comes into any rational mind is what a nursing practitioner can treat. As mentioned earlier, a nursing practitioner can do virtually anything that a doctor can do except for surgical processes.
But to list a few main vital treatments a nurse practitioner provides are routine flu shots, routine medical tests, blood testing, flu treatment, and injury treatment. However, nurse practitioners are not limited to only the treatments mentioned above. Nurse practitioners can also order diagnostic X-rays and other lab work; they can be someone’s primary caregiver. Several nurse practitioners are board certified in family practice, woman’s health, pediatrics, and geriatrics.
When to go to a nurse practitioner
So now we get to the question you have been asking yourself, when is it appropriate to go to a nurse practitioner? According to experts, patients should feel comfortable going to medical practitioners, from having their regular flu checked out to managing their chronic medical conditions. See an advanced practice nurse if you need a yearly physical, have the flu, or are wondering why your knee is making that noise.
You can also go to a nurse practitioner if you hate long waiting lines like millions of others. Many people also prefer going to medical practitioners because of the friendly and inclusive environments in their clinics. It is also highly affordable to visit a medical practitioner instead of a doctor, which is another reason why people prefer to visit them.
Can I See a Nurse Practitioner Instead of a Doctor?
Now that we have discussed what a nurse practitioner is, how they differ from doctors, and what care they can provide, we can easily answer the question “Can I See a Nurse Practitioner Instead of a Doctor?”. The answer is yes. There are many reasons that thousands of Americans and Canadians are switching their primary caregivers from doctors to nurse practitioners. There is a host of reasons, some of which we have already discussed. Those reasons include a small waiting list, an affordable process, and a friendly environment.
Why You Should See a Nurse Practitioner
A 50-year study demonstrates that nurse practitioners provide high-quality care throughout a person’s life. Nurse practitioners can assist if you need primary, acute, or specialty care. Nurse practitioners have offered safe, effective, evidence-based, and patient-centered care comparable to physicians since 1965.
A recent study found that NP patients are less likely to readmit to the hospital, are more satisfied, and use the emergency room less frequently. As evidence suggests, nurse practitioners can effectively serve on primary care teams, such as those for older adults with diabetes. The costs of healthcare for patients with complex medical needs are also lower.
In 2034, the AAMC predicts a physician shortage. There will be shortages in both primary care and nonprimary care. In response to this shortage, nurse practitioners are in greater demand for primary care roles in a wide range of specialties, including:
- Children’s Health
- The geriatrics field
- Health care for women
Your healthcare office visits will be more beneficial with a nurse practitioner. As compared to physicians, NPs managed patient care better and cost less. Another advantage of nurse practitioners is their availability. Consequently, appointments take less time, and you usually get more time with them.
Now that you know the difference and advantages of a nurse practitioner, why don’t you schedule an appointment with your nurse practitioner for your next body check-up?