Nurse practitioners perform some of the tasks normally performed by doctors.
Depending on the area where they work, nurse practitioners may prescribe certain
medications, set simple fractures, suture (stitch up) wounds and treat minor
illnesses such as flu or ear infections.
They might perform regular checkups of healthy babies and children, give
health and disease prevention counseling and refer patients to community health
Nurse practitioners have been around for over 25 years. They were originally
in demand to work in rural areas where doctors were unwilling to practice.
As the number of qualified doctors began to increase, the demand for nurse
You can expect to work a pretty regular schedule as a nurse practitioner.
"I work an eight-hour day in the office, usually beginning at 9 or 10 a.m.,
except for one day when work starts at 1 p.m. and finishes at 8 at night,"
says Jacquelyn Dippert. She is a nurse practitioner from Eden, New York.
Nurse practitioners are now in great demand, not as alternatives to doctors
but as part of a professional team, working alongside doctors, handling some
of the less serious patient ailments.
Nurse practitioners' specialized training makes them ideal for community
care. "Nurses are more likely to talk with patients and adapt medical regimens
to a patient's preferences, family situation and environment," says Mary O.
Mundinger. She works in Columbia University's school of nursing.
Nurse practitioners can be found in community health-care centers and in
group practices with physicians. They may also provide services in health
promotion, disease prevention, psychiatric care and substance abuse.
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