What Are the Duties of a Nurse Practitioner?


Quick Answer

Duties of nurse practitioners revolve around patient care and typically include diagnosing and treating conditions, spreading health awareness and issuing prescriptions. Nurse practitioners work either independently or as members of medical teams.

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Full Answer

Nurse practitioners, along with nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives, have master's degrees in specialty roles that entitle them to take on more advanced duties then those given to a standard registered nurse.

The basic duties include observing and recording the medical histories and symptoms of patients. Nurse practitioners act on this gathered information to provide a diagnosis and treatment plan, order laboratory exams, coordinate with health insurers and prescribe medication.

As healthcare providers, nurse practitioners give consultations to patients and families on how to maintain good health and cope with medical problems. Nurse practitioners have areas of specialization in which they have extensive knowledge, enabling them to impart this knowledge to specific groups of patients. For instance, nurse practitioners who specialize in cardiology can provide counseling to patients with heart disorders, whereas nurse practitioners with pediatric accreditation can offer medical advice for children. Other common specialty roles of nurse practitioners are geriatrics, gynecology, oncology and psychiatry.

Nurse practitioners typically work full time in schools, hospitals and healthcare facilities. Institutions that operate day and night require nurse practitioners to work in shifts. Nurse practitioners may also need to be available around the clock in case of emergencies.

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