Cliff and I got into a discussion the other day about nurse-practitioners. I wondered aloud just what sort of training is required to obtain this title.
I'm glad there is such a vocation, because I remember a time when it was almost impossible to get into our doctor's office without a two-week wait; by the time your appointment came around, you were either over your malady, or in the hospital. Thanks to the fact that there are now three N.P.'s employed in that office, it's possible to be seen on the same day you call, if you need quick attention.
Let's face it, most visits to the doctor are for fairly minor maladies. Often, I know the correct diagnosis for my problem; I just can't get whatever medicine it takes to fix it. Why waste a doctor's time on bladder infections or sinusitis or ear-wax buildup? The nurse-practitioner can handle these things just fine, and write whatever prescription is necessary.
If she feels a patient has a more serious problem, the doctor is right there for consultation. It was a nurse-practitioner who sensed a serious problem when Cliff was there with the "indigestion" that turned out to be heart trouble. She went down the hall and consulted Dr. D., who had her schedule an appointment for Cliff with a cardiologist. Within three days, Cliff was in the hospital for C.A.B.G. surgery. Four, count 'em, four bypasses.
Anyway, here's what Google told me about what it takes to be 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 rock!