Why Nurse Practitioners Give Better Care Than Primary Care Physicians
There is a shortage of primary care physicians (PCP) due to medical students choosing to be specialists because of the higher pay. Getting an appointment with your PCP can take weeks and your illness usually ends up becoming a trip to the emergency room for urgent care. Nurse practitioners are emerging as an alternative to the primary care physician. The care provided by a nurse practitioner (NP) is equivalent to or even better than the care provided by a PCP. We will explore the reasons why.
A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has completed medical education at the graduate level. Most NPs have a master’s degree and some even have a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Most work in collaboration with a physician. Other nurse practitioners, depending on state regulations, can function as primary care providers without any supervision from a physician.
Nurse practitioners provide better care than PCPs because they emphasize prevention of illness rather than treatment. They take a more proactive role in patient treatment. NPs spend an average of 20 to 30 minutes longer with a patient than a typical doctor visit.
During your visit, the NP will provide a thorough examination, discuss your medical history, request necessary diagnostic testing, and offer a comprehensive treatment plans. They focus on the patient and provide the information necessary for the patient to learn to take care of themselves in order to avoid future complications. NPs take the time to listen to the concerns of the patient.
The PCP is focused mainly on the illness that you reported when you made the appointment. After a quick examination of your vital organs, they begin ordering tests and writing prescriptions to cure your illness. They need you to be in and out very quickly because they have so many more patients to see. This is a reactive approach used by many PCPs.
NPs are a way of providing medical care that is cost effective. They usually work together in a clinic-type setting so there are multiple NPs available to provide care to patients. The nurse practitioner field is rapidly growing compared to the declining number of primary care physicians. About 65% of NPs are in primary care which is good new for patients needing urgent care without the waiting weeks for an appointment.
If you are in need of a quick appointment to receive effective treatment, consider using a nurse practitioner on your next visit. NPs are a viable alternative, although not a complete substitution, to an unavailable primary care physician. Nurse Practitioners are the new face of primary care.