Nurse practitioners (NP) and physician assistants (PA) provide compassionate, competent care patients may assume they can only get from a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO).
But NPs and PAs can offer many of the same things you look for in a provider appointment.
What is an advanced practice provider?
NPs and PAs are medical professionals sometimes referred to as advanced practice providers (APP). Lori Zwickel, a PA at Kettering Health Years Ahead says APPs “are licensed to diagnose, treat acute illnesses, manage chronic disease, and prescribe medications.”
NPs and PAs offer patients great care in many spaces. You might see a PA as your primary care provider. Or you may take your child to a pediatric NP. You might also find a PA or an NP caring for you in the emergency department.
Chances are, you may have been seen by a PA or NP and not realized it.
What are their qualifications?
NPs and PAs are medical providers with master’s degrees. NPs attend a graduate nursing program and tend to have specialties. PAs attend a master’s program based on medical education and tend to have a more generalized medical understanding. Lori, for example, had experience as a lab technician in the Air Force. And she built on her experience and education by becoming a PA.
Both have some distinctions in their training, but NPs and PAs are required to have graduate degrees, receive clinical training, and be board-certified. And both can provide excellent care.
What are the advantages of seeing NPs and PAs?
Patients can benefit in many ways from receiving care from an NP or a PA. Patients can often see a PA or an NP without needing to wait long for an appointment. “Sometimes it can take longer to get in with an MD or DO,” said Lori.
For PAs like Lori, they work alongside a physician and other healthcare professionals. “If I ever need a second opinion, there are plenty of physicians there to help,” said Lori. “If it is a complicated case, I always have a physician to collaborate with.” This collaborative approach means more care in your corner and more insights from medical professionals involved in your health.
In a fast-paced world, where it can often take a long time to get the medical care you need, choosing to see an NP or a PA can make all the difference.
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