Monday, September 26, 2016

Do you know what a Nurse Practitioner is?

You’re definitely not alone if you don’t know what a Nurse Practitioner (NP) is. Even though NPs have been around for 50 years now, many people in the U.S. still aren’t sure what we do.   NPs are nurses who have received medical training.  Part of the confusion can be due to the many letters you see behind an NP name -- and there are many.  With every degree or specialty certification, the NP will receive new initials which represent new qualifications and expertise the NP has earned.  

The minimum education for an NP is a 4 year Baccalaureate Nursing Degree, 2 year Master's Degree, and optional 1.5 - 4 year Doctoral Degree.  The highest degree an NP can achieve is a doctorate degree.  That degree could be a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) or a DNP (Doctorate of Nursing Practice).  There may also be initials designating the degree, such as MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) or MPA (Master of Public Administration).  The degree designation might  follow their name; however,  some choose to lead with their professional designation, APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) or NP (Nurse Practitioner).   

The credentials for the American Certification Credentialing Center (ANCC) certified NPs is NP-BC preceded by a letter indicating the particular specialty,
·  Family nurse practitioner:    FNP-BC
·  Adult nurse practitioner:      ANP-BC
·  Adult-gerontologic primary care NP: AGPCNP-BC
·  Acute care nurse practitioner:           ACNP-BC
·  Adult-gerontologic acute care NP:    AGACNP-BC
·  Pediatric nurse practitioner (primary care):   PNP-BC
·  Gerontological nurse practitioner:     GNP-BC
·  Psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner:    PMHNP-BC 

The American Association of  Nurse Practitioners (AANP) certified NPs are granted the designation of NP-C, or nurse practitioner-certified
·  Family nurse practitioner:     FNP-C
·  Adult-Gerontologic nurse practitioner:   A-GNP-C
·  Adult nurse practitioner:    ANP-C
·  Gerontological nurse practitioner:    GNP-C

The most important part of any initials are the NP.  That lets you know you are with a Nurse Practitioner.  There are more than 222,000 NPs in the US.   Nurse Practitioners and physicians both diagnose, treat, and manage acute and chronic diseases; order and interpret lab and diagnostic tests; and prescribe medications.  The care and knowledge each profession uses overlaps and is complementary. 

Depending on the state, some NP’s may (1)  practice independently (or autonomously), (2)  practice collaboratively with a physician, or (3) work under the direct supervision of a physician.   Patient Centered Care, PLLC (PCC) is a Nurse Practitioner owned primary care practice, following patients age 13 yo and older, in Wilmington, NC.   PCC is an autonomous NP practice.  The NPs collaborate with physicians (although they are not present in our office).    Our website is
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PCC providers are:  
Deborah Adams-Wingate, MSN, AGNP-C
Tamatha E. Arms, DNP, PMHNP-BC, AGNP-C

Hope this clears up any confusion related to Nurse Practitioners.  If you still have questions, contact us.  If you are looking for safe, high-quality, knowledgeable, cost-effective, and sensitive care which emphasizes YOU as a person, give us a call 910-799-6262.

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