T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What exactly am I studying to become?


This is a long post...

First, I want to clarify exactly what I am studying to become.

The other day I overheard my mom talking to someone and she said I was studying to be a doctor. After her conversation ended I informed my mom that I was not in medical school but nurse practitioner school. Her response was, "They're practically the same and it's just easier to explain it that way." I then realized that my darling mother needed a little help understanding what exactly I was going to school for. I will not be a physician but rather a family nurse practitioner - two very different things, even though there are some over lapping responsibilities. Thus, here's the 4-1-1 on nurse practitioners borrowed from
this site.

What is a nurse practitioner?

A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse (RN) who has completed advanced education (a minimum of a master's degree) and training in the diagnosis and management of common medical conditions, including chronic illnesses. Nurse practitioners provide a broad range of health care services. They provide some of the same care provided by physicians and maintain close working relationships with physicians. An NP can serve as a patient's regular health care provider.

Nurse practitioners see patients of all ages. The core philosophy of the field is individualized care. Nurse practitioners focus on patients' conditions as well as the effects of illness on the lives of the patients and their families. NPs make prevention, wellness, and patient education priorities. This can mean fewer prescriptions and less expensive treatments. Informing patients about their health care and encouraging them to participate in decisions are central to the care provided by NPs. In addition to health care services, NPs conduct research and are often active in patient advocacy activities.

Because the profession is state regulated, care provided by NPs varies. A nurse practitioner's duties include the following:

  • Collaborating with physicians and other health professionals as needed, including providing referrals
  • Counseling and educating patients on health behaviors, self-care skills, and treatment options
  • Diagnosing and treating acute illnesses, infections, and injuries
  • Diagnosing, treating, and monitoring chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure)
  • Obtaining medical histories and conducting physical examinations
  • Ordering, performing, and interpreting diagnostic studies (e.g., lab tests, x-rays, EKGs)
  • Prescribing medications
  • Prescribing physical therapy and other rehabilitation treatments
  • Providing prenatal care and family planning services
  • Providing well-child care, including screening and immunizations
  • Providing health maintenance care for adults, including annual physicals

Nurse practitioners provide high-quality, cost-effective individualized care that is comparable to the health care provided by physicians, and NP services are often covered by insurance providers. NPs practice in all states. The institutions in which they work include the following:

  • Community clinics and health centers
  • Health departments
  • Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
  • Home health care agencies
  • Hospitals and hospital clinics
  • Hospice centers
  • Nurse practitioner offices
  • Nursing homes
  • Nursing schools
  • Physician offices
  • Private offices
  • Public health departments
  • School/college clinics
  • Veterans Administration facilities
  • Walk-in clinics

Most NPs specialize in a particular field of medical care, and there are as many types of NPs as there are medical specialties.

My studies are intense, as you might expect with all that will be asked of me upon completion. As I mentioned in a previous posting, last week I had four papers due. This week I've been busy with group projects. Mind you, all my classes thus far have been online so for group projects we meet online and literally "chat" via modern technology. Eventually I will be meeting in the classroom and performing hands on learning. You cannot teach giving a physical exam without some applied learning. And then later on I will move to the clinic setting and actually start seeing patients. Since I've already been a nurse for a while it's not too scary to imagine applying what I've learned. I'm actually pretty excited to be able to make my own diagnoses and prescribe my own meds or do my own suturing (stitches).

This evening, the last project I completed was something a little different. It was an assignment for my nursing theory class. Now theory can be really boring if you let it. Luckily, our professor is letting us have a little fun. She asked us to pick a specific patient population and graphically depict how nursing affects the various "assumptions" of that population. So not to go too theory on you, I'll try to explain what I did.

The population I picked was that of asthma patients. The assumptions that go along with that are: nursing, patient education, support system, compliance, and the asthma patient. Rather than draw circles that interconnect or lines pointing to each other, I instead depicted my population and assumptions this way (you might want to click on the photo to make it bigger, although, do NOT comment on my artistic ability):

Yes, this is me having fun with my assignment. We'll see what Dr. R has to say but I thought it was cleaver!

And just for fun, this is my "helper" who decided assisting Mom with her reading today was far more fun than taking a nap:

Yes, that was the grin that melted my heart today. He was actually a pretty good kid, letting me finish the massive amount of reading I had to complete - amazingly good-natured considering he woke early and only napped for 45 minutes!

So that's the 4-1-1...are you still awake???

Have you ever been treated by a nurse practitioner? And if so, what was your experience like?


BallerinaBiker said...

Yes, and it was fine. My OB/GYN has one on staff and when he can't see me, she, the NP, does.

Good luck with your studies, you will be a great NP! And, I like your project you made. Very nice!

Jenners said...

I see nurse practitioners all the time -- in fact, I rarely see a doctor. I think NPs tend to be more down-to-earth and real and spend more time with you and learning about you as a person. That has been my experience. I suspect you shall be great.

But how you are doing this and being pregnant and having T-Rex is beyond me. Be sure to be gentle to yourself and don't overdo it!

septembermom said...

I've had wonderful experiences with nurse practitioners. Like Jenners, I always found them to be warm, interested and attentive to my needs. As you know, my sister is studying to be an LPN. I can't wait to show her this post. You're doing a phenomenal job with everything! I think your alter ego may be Wonder Woman!

Nina said...

I have not but it was coll to understand better what you are studying to do. It sounds like you have a lot of hard work ahead of you.

Pretty great that T-Rex let you read, my boys never let me do anything like that. They want my undivided attention at all times.

Jed Wheeler Family said...

All my experiences with NPs have been great too! I've been given great practical advice from my ob, np (lots of initials, sorry) Ditto to everyone else's comments.
I love the outfits, cute idea. I don't know how you find time to do everything!

Mommy of M's said...

M2 has an ENT NP, she's the one I talk to and who sees him for his appts. We haven't seen his ENT Dr(the one he's had since birth, not the new one in Cincy that did 'the surgery') since last December. His ENT NP is great, I can call her on the phone and give her symtoms and she can call in an RX right away. She also was the one that did all of our training in trach care, she has been very helpful and supportive thoughtout this whole process. She has even made herself available to M2's PCP. Can you tell how much I love her??

I don't know how you are managing everything you have on your plate right now, I'm worn out just thinking about it. But then again I suck at being pregnant!!

Caitlin said...

awesome picture and great summary. Nice to read about all that you will be doing.
I have seen many NP and am always happy with the result. They can almost always get me in sooner if I need a last minute appointment as well and they don't keep me waiting nearly as long as a dr!

Ally said...

Oh my what a smile! Its hard to resist isnt it? =) Nurse practitioner, wow now I understand what you mean by a lot of studying!

I suffered a dose of the "lack of motivation to blog" bug. We're doing okay here for the most part. Today Abram was battling a fever, poor thing, those teeth are kicking his butt. Hopefully in the morning he'll feel better.

Kim said...

Wow!! I had no idea. So this means eventually you could have your own practice??? That would be ideal for a busy mom.

I don't know if we have these in Canada. We have RNs and one step down (can't remember what they're called just now). I think you will make an excellent NP. I like that NP's provide less expensive care and possibly less prescribed meds. That's what we need in this society - health care that takes a holistic approach. I couldn't believe how quickly they prescribed Deaglan antibiotics this past winter to the point where amoxicyllin (sp?) stopped beign affective. Now in Canada, they are no longer going to prescribe antibiotics for ear infections without a lot of probing.