National Nurse Practitioner (NP) Week is Nov. 11-17. There are 155,000 NP’s practicing in the US with 3,240 in Minnesota alone. In celebration of NP Week please consider the value and function of an NP along with an MD or Physician Assistant (PA). With the current shortage of healthcare providers the demand for NP services continues to grow.
Both an MD and NP can serve in the role of primary care provider, a PA differs in that PA’s require direct supervision by an MD and cannot serve as a patient’s primary care provider. The focus of an MD/PA is primarily medical whereas an NP blends the nursing and medical roles in care planning as well as prescribing necessary treatments, medications, ordering tests etc. to help each patient achieve optimal health for their circumstances.
NP’s must obtain a masters or doctorate degree with one year of internship before practicing. MD’s are required to have one year of both internship and residency prior to practice beyond their medical degree. PA’s are required to obtain a bachelors degree and no internship or residency is required.
NP’s must recertify every five years (75 hours of continuing education (CE) in that time). PA’s recertify every six years (100 hours of continuing medical education (CME)/two years). MD’s are not required to recertify, however many do to maintain competency (50 hours of CME/year).
Many studies have shown that the care provided by MD/NP in primary care is equivalent and that care provided by NP’s is 20 percent less costly than care provided by MDs.
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) provides consumers quick and easy access to an NP. Go to www.npfinder.com to locate and NP in your area. If you have questions or need additional information, contact email@example.com or call (512) 442-4262, ext. 5211.