The most common question I get asked out in practise even after 14 years is "What is a Nurse Practitioner anyways?" So, I thought I would take this opportunity to explain the answer to this question first before addressing any other health topics...
What are nurse practitioners?
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses who have additional education and nursing experience, which enables them to:
Where do nurse practitioners work?
NPs work in a variety of health-care settings, such as:
What kind of health-care services does a nurse practitioner provide?
NPs provide a wide range of direct care services to people at every stage of life. In addition to treating illnesses, they teach individuals and their families about healthy living, preventing disease and managing illness. NPs bring together medical knowledge with the values and skills of nursing. NPs are also leaders, consultants and researchers who incorporate new knowledge into their practice.
Do nurse practitioners replace other health-care professionals? Will I still be able to see my doctor?
NPs work with many other health-care providers. They are part of a collaborative team that includes registered nurses, doctors, social workers and others. While seeing an NP, you can still see your family doctor or any other health-care provider. You also have the option of choosing to see a Nurse Practitioner as your primary care provider instead of a family doctor.
What are the benefits of nurse practitioners?
NPs bring value to Canadians and their health-care system. Studies about these benefits and patients’ experiences tell us that NPs:
Can Nurse Practitioners work in every province and territory?
Yes, every province and territory in Canada has NP legislation in place.
Are Nurse Practitioners new to the health-care system?
NPs first appeared in Canada in the 1960s. Early on, NPs provided care in rural and remote areas. By the 1970s, interest in the NP role increased and more education programs began. Today, NPs are an important part of the health-care system.