Thinking About Seeing a Nurse Practitioner? Here’s What to Know

If you’re looking for someone who can quickly help you with your healthcare needs, a nurse practitioner could be the perfect fit.

A nurse practitioner is a nurse with advanced education and training. Nurse practitioners start by becoming registered nurses, then earn graduate degrees and pass national board certification exams to be licensed by the state.

“A nurse practitioner has to complete at least a master's level degree with an average of 600 clinical training hours,” said Christy Idle, a certified nurse practitioner at McLaren Greater Lansing Mid-Michigan Physicians Healthcare Associates. “It takes on average 2.5-3 years to complete. Although many go on to obtain their doctorate in nursing.”

The first nurse practitioner program was developed in 1965, and today, it is one of the fastest-growing healthcare professions.

Nurse practitioners often have more availability to see new patients than physicians do, and they can take care of many of the same concerns as physicians. Many nurse practitioners offer virtual visits and can help with mental health treatment, counseling, and referrals to specialists.

Nurse practitioners can handle most of the same healthcare needs physicians can. Some responsibilities include diagnosing and treating both acute and chronic health conditions, ordering and interpreting diagnostics and labs, counseling, prescribing medications, and providing patient education.

“Nurse practitioners can manage everything from annual physicals to acute illness such as viruses, broken bones, and infections in patients, and even some chronic illnesses,” said Idle. “We focus on both the mental and physical health of a patient, as well as making sure patients are completing routine health care screenings to prevent future issues.”

A nurse practitioner can serve as your primary care provider and help make sure you and your family are healthy through regular checkups and physicals. They also emphasize health promotion and disease prevention.

“I have been a nurse practitioner at Mid-Michigan Physicians for over 16 years and my patients have become more than just patients to me; a lot of them are like family,” said Idle.

Looking for a new primary care provider in your area? Click here for a list of McLaren Greater Lansing healthcare providers accepting new patients.

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