Rather than seeing a physician, sometimes a nurse practitioner can take care of the a patient's symptoms. This week has been National Nurse Practitioner's Week and Carla Burbidge has the story in this week's Eye on Health.
A patient with a shoulder injury is getting a check-up with a nurse practitioner, Sarah Baker, at St. A's Clinic in Minot. Sarah spent 25 years as an Registered Nurse, went back to school for an advanced degree, and became a nurse practitioner, the highest level for nursing. She can now diagnose a patients, treat the patient and prescribe medications.
Sarah Baker, Family Nurse Practitioner, its really a broad field, you see many different things"
A nurse practitioner can fill gaps in our health care system. For instance, before moving to Minot, Sarah worked in a rural community, where she was the primary medical provider. Nurse practitioners can step in when there's a shortage of physicians, or to help when physicians are just too busy to see every case.
Sarah Baker " I feel like its a privilege to be in health care, I can spent extra time with patients, sometimes just to listen"
(ns) Pam Pearson was a nurse for many years as well, before becoming a Nurse Practitioner, she's at Trinity CancerCare Center.
Pam Pearson "we are a family, they feel comfortable with us as their medical providers"
By 2015 requirements for the job are changing. Nurse practitioners now hold a master's degree. In two years, the required degree will be Doctor or Nursing Practices. The career was created in the 1960's, due to a shortage of doctors, and since then Nurse Practitioners have proved to be an essential part of health care. In fact, the need for Nurse Practitioners is on the increase. For Eye on Health I'm Carla Burbidge