Saturday, July 21, 2007

What Does A Nurse Practitioner Do?

I thought I would sit down and try to answer a question that brings the Googlers to my site now that school is over. One question that comes up through my site meter is "what does a nurse practitioner do?" Here goes...

A nurse practitioner is a health care provider that can diagnose, treat, and monitor various disease processes. In some states, they can prescribe narcotics as well. So far, there are only four states that still won't allow this component of practice. In some states, a NP must have a collaborative agreement with a MD, some may require direct supervision. Some NPs may have their own private practices without physician oversight at all. NPs can obtain privileges at hospitals so that they can round. Some states allow NPs to admit their own patients to hospitals.

I have been practicing for the last two weeks at a Family practice office. I have seen lots of sinusitis, pharyngitis, otitis externa and media, and some sprains and strains. I had the doctor admit a patient with active chest pain and referred several patients out for colonoscopies, EGDs, and stress tests.

I have spent lots of time getting to know my patient's health histories and updating their med lists. I look forward to building a following of my own. There have been a few familiar faces recognized from the hospital that I used to work at and they are happy to see me in the office.

I will start making rounds at the nursing homes next month. I look forward to getting out of the office every now and then just to break things up. I can see how it can become very boring seeing the same things day in and day out.

The one thing I don't enjoy is all the patients coming out of the woodwork with requests to increase their pain meds and nerve pills. This is the one time that I am glad that I cannot write for those medications. I guess they figure a new face will give them what the doctor has already said no to.

The candy machine is permanently broken people!

I LOVE my job!


  1. Thanks for taking the time to write about your experience. This is very valuable to those of us still progressing through school. I'll look forward to reading more in the future, and congrats on your success!

  2. Thanks for leaving a comment Tulsa M-urse! I hope you do well in school and enjoy nursing as much as I do!

  3. Sheila1:32 PM

    Do you work with children? I am worried that I won't remember all of the conversions for the medications. I guess it's all memorization in the end, huh?

  4. Thanks for this informative piece about what Nurse Practitioners do! It's the medical equivalent of what I do in dental hygiene: independent practice (which is legal in Colorado). Being a holistic/comprehensive dental hygienist, I am now inspired by your article to look into expanding what I do by possibly becoming a nurse practitioner. (You can find out more about me and independent dental hygiene at my website:
    Thanks again for your terrific article!

  5. Vicky, I'm glad that you found the information that you needed. I hope that you decide to return to school for whatever degree you decide. I will stop by your site and check it out. Thanks so much for the comment!

  6. Anonymous10:47 PM

    Thanks for putting together such a great site! Keep up the good work.

  7. Anonymous10:30 AM

    I am thinking about going to school for family NP. How does the making rounds think work? Where all do you have to make rounds and how often? Thanks.

  8. Anonymous, I'm not sure what you mean by making rounds? One does not make rounds in a hospital setting while in school unless you are following an Acute NP. You set up clinicals through local NPs and learn everything you can while doing your clinicals just like RN school. Hope this helps!

  9. Anonymous6:03 PM

    Do you work with kids that have diseases ? because i doesn't Know if i am still interested because that doesn't give me enough info

  10. Anonymous3:00 PM

    i am studyn my lpn course and i want to reach the level of a nurse practitioners in years time,thanx guys for taking ur time to expliaing it to us,it aint easy though,bt hope i will make it to were u r.

  11. Anonymous2:17 PM

    i plan on becoming a nurse practitioner when i further my eduacation. right now im still in scholl and have quite a ways to go, but i know that i can do it, in which state do you practice in and how do you like it.

  12. Anonymous10:19 AM

    I don't understand the point of nurse practitioners.

  13. Amberly3:43 PM

    I am planning on becoming an RN or an NP, right now, NP is looking like my best option. What kind of schooling is necessary to become a nurse practitioner?

  14. Amberly, you have to have a registered nursing license and then you progress through your education to the Master's level as a nurse practitioner. It depends on what type of track that you can find in different colleges. I did the traditional route RN to BSN and then to MSN.

  15. Anonymous2:23 AM

    Hello Nurse Practicioners save lives!

  16. Anonymous10:04 AM

    I would love to know more about this field. I am almost certain that I want to become this. What do I have to take or become in order to become a nurse practitioner? Can you please let me know,

    Thank you :)

  17. Anonymous2:50 PM

    I am nearing the end of MS in Nursing Leadership which will probably do nothing for me as I have no desire to lead nurses. I plan to enter a post grad certificate for NP.

    Question: How much more difficult is NP school?
    Does the financial reward meet the demand of hellacious school loans?
    How does billing work when in practice for yourself?

    1. Anonymous12:17 AM

      it is very difficult. the total years to be to a nurse practitioner is about 15 years. I dont get your other questions because i am in 6th grade now.

  18. I was wondering what a high school senior needs to do to become a nurse practitioner. I applied to CSU Fresno and got accepted as Pre-Nursing major, but I don't know what to do next. Do you have any suggestions as to what to do next?

    Thank you,