Many people do not know what a nurse practitioner is and how they relate to a doctor. Or in other words, is there a difference in the care of a nurse practitioner vs doctor care?
A physician has a more formal education and actual training in medicine than a nurse practitioner does, such as the treatment of diseases using medication and drugs, medical procedures and surgery.
A nurse practitioner is a Registered Nurse with a formal education that emphasizes the care of sick people in an advanced education in the management and diagnosis of common and chronic illnesses and maladies.
Both parties are similar in that they both can diagnose, manage and treat chronic and acute diseases, they can both order laboratory test and interpret them and they both can prescribe medications and drugs. In recent studies, nurse practitioners perform about 80 to 90% of the duties that doctors do anyway, and the level of care has been found to be at least as good, if not better in many cases than the care people have received from doctors. It could be said that both the doctor and the nurse practitioner are involved in the healing arts, but they approach the matter from a different perspective in the difference of care from a nurse practitioner vs doctor care.
Another way to put is to say that doctors study disease and how to cure it, while the nurse practitioner studies people and how to heal them and make them well.
Doctors are in school longer and the emphasis is on the study of disease. Most of the Nurse practitioners are already very experienced and skilled in the care of patients and have been for years before they make the decision to go on and get an advanced education that allows them to get their NP license. Physicians will many times move into specialties because of their knowledge of diseases, and the possibility of higher fees.
NP’s (nurse practitioners) make ideal primary care givers because of their backgrounds in that area already and their orientation on wellness, and lifestyle education for patients, and preventative care. There is a lot of overlap between the two disciplines, and yet the differences in perspective give a deeper richness of care for the patients and helps to shoulder the caseload for everyone.
With all of the changes in medical care and deliver that is coming about because of governmental changes, there will be a need for more nurse practitioners to shoulder the load much more. The days of the mega physician practice may be a thing of the past due to the lowering of fees that physicians will be able to charge and be reimbursed for under the new legislation. There will be a need for more hands on treatment for patients and there will be more patients, as the ranks of the uninsured begin entering the healthcare system for the first time.
There are more and more registered nurses entering the NP program, which is a good thing for medicine and will bode well for the future of medicine in general as there are some slight differences of care from a nurse practitioner vs doctor care.