Nurse practitioners are more than registered professional nurses; they are rapidly becoming the healthcare provider of choice in the United States.
The profession emerged in 1965, and today more than 150,000 NPs work in diverse settings like medical offices, school clinics, hospitals, urgent care facilities, community health centers, emergency rooms and workplace clinics. An NP has many of the same responsibilities as a physician. On any given day, a doctor might be performing a well patient physical while the practice's NP completes one in the adjoining exam room.
These nurses have specialized training to check an individual's health and diagnose medical conditions. They manage health problems by developing treatment plans and promoting a healthy lifestyle. One of their most important functions is collaborating with patients, their families and other healthcare providers to share information.
NPs can practice within the boundaries of the Nursing Practice Act in their respective states. In metropolitan areas, they sometimes own their own practices.