What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are Registered Nurses (RNs) with advanced educational preparation (generally a Masters degree in Nursing) and experience who possess and demonstrate the competencies to autonomously diagnose, order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe pharmaceuticals and perform specific procedures within their legislated scope of practice (Canadian Nurses Association, CNPI, 2006).  NPs provide health care services to individuals of all ages, families and communities, emphasizing health promotion and disease prevention.  NPs work in a variety settings including community clinics, emergency departments, specialty acute care settings, and long-term care facilities.  NPs work autonomously and in collaboration with a variety of health care professionals to manage client’s health care.

How Can a Nurse Practitioner Help You?

The NP is part of your health care team.  Depending on what your health care needs are this might include a variety of health care providers.  Your team may consist of a nurse practitioner, a physician, a registered nurse, a nutritionist, a physiotherapist, a mental health specialist, and/or a midwife - but most importantly, it includes you.  NPs work in both community settings as well as in hospitals and emergency rooms.  They are educated and experienced in health assessment, diagnostics, treatment, and preventative care and can meet most of your health care needs.

Why Choose a Nurse Practitioner?

The NP provides you, the consumer, with a choice in accessing a health care provider.  NPs work in collaboration with physicians to keep you, your family, and the community you live in healthy.  As an expert in health care, the NP offers a holistic approach by addressing much more than your immediate concerns.  She/he also provides preventative health education and planning that allows you to stay as healthy and active as possible and encourages you to be an active partner in health care decisions. 

Other information can be located at www.npnow.ca