Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are highly skilled healthcare professionals who are playing an increasingly sought after role in comprehensive and specialised care for patients.
The role of Nurse Practitioners has evolved into a vital component of the healthcare system and one that’s relied on by patients from all walks of life.
We take a look at Nurse Practitioners to find out
- What they are
- What they do, and
- The benefits they bring to everyone’s health
What Nurse Practitioners are
As mentioned in the introduction of this article, Nurse Practitioners are highly skilled healthcare professionals.
They have advanced clinical training allowing them to assess patients, diagnose conditions, prescribe medication and help promote preventive care.
In the past, Nurse Practitioners typically worked in hospitals, but due to the increasing demand for their services, they can now be found in other health facilities.
Clinics, private practices, community health centres, long-term care facilities and high quality pharmacies are some examples.
Interestingly, they can also be found in academic institutions where they contribute knowledge of healthcare.
The advanced education and clinical training required to become a Nurse Practitioner
To become an NP, registered nurses typically complete a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing, specialising in areas such as family health, paediatrics or mental health.
This advanced education includes intensive coursework and training in their chosen field.
Importantly, Nurse Practitioners also undertake extensive hands-on training which gives them practical experience.
It’s this academic education and real-world training that equips NPs with the skills and expertise needed to provide high-quality care to patients.
The result is that more and more people are opting to see Nurse Practitioners for health concerns.
Nurse Practitioners can serve a diverse range of patients from infants and young children to teens and adults.
What Nurse Practitioners do
They can provide the following services:
- Walk-in consultations for a wide range of health complaints
- Treatments for various acute and chronic medical conditions
- Referrals to specialists
- Chronic disease state management
- Prescribing medications
- Repeat prescriptions
- Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests
- Promoting general health
- Wound care including suturing, plastering
- Women’s health including pap smears
- Intravenous cannulation
- Blood taking
- Minor procedures such as biopsy, abscess drainage etc
- Intramuscular injections including Depots
- Vaccination including those on the NIP
- Children’s health
In a pharmacy setting, it’s that first service listed above, walk-in consultations for a wide range of health complaints, that is really proving important to so many.
Nurse Practitioners often collaborate with pharmacists to extend the level of care and support offered to patients.
Patients can also book appointments with NPs to discuss, diagnose and treat health issues that they may have.
These appointments typically serve more in-depth health concerns than walk-in consultations and can be carried out in a private room within a pharmacy.
The benefits Nurse Practitioners bring
A wider range and wider scope of services
NPs can perform comprehensive health assessments, diagnose certain ailments and prescribe and recommend medication. This means more thorough and personalised care for people visiting pharmacies that offer NP services.
Nurse Practitioners can work with pharmacists to ensure patients are well looked after with the support they may need. NPs offer education and advice around medications, address concerns like administering medication to young children and potential side effects.
Many people seek NPs for wounds and injuries, sports and work related issues in particular. Scrapes, minor cuts, bruises, sprains and the like are, in most cases, well in the scope of NP expertise.
Chronic disease management
NPs often play a key role in managing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis and hypertension. They can monitor patients, adjust medications as needed and provide support and advice for lifestyle and diet changes.
Fast (sometimes instant) access to care
With NPs available in a pharmacy, patients can access healthcare services quickly and in many situations, without waiting at all. This reduces the need for visits to other healthcare facilities and can be a convenient option.
NPs are trained in preventive care and health promotion. They can provide personalised, deep insights and guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing illness.
The presence of NPs in a pharmacy can significantly improve overall patient experience by providing a broader range of services and expert personalised care. Patient feedback and general comments by pharmacy customers show that NPs help position a pharmacy as a holistic, one-stop-shop for general healthcare.
How to utilise Nurse Practitioners for your needs
If you’d like the support of a Nurse Practitioner, book an appointment with us, find more information here, or simply come into our pharmacy.
Booking an appointment with one of our Nurse Practitioners means you’ll receive a confirmed consultation time of your convenience.
To sum up
It’s no wonder that Nurse Practitioners are seeing an increase in demand for their services.
Not only do they offer highly skilled healthcare services, but they also offer convenience for patients from all walks of life and lifestyles.
Complete Care Pharmacies are proud advocates of Nurse Practitioners and as such, you can find them assisting our patients and visitors to our branches five days a week.
Our NPs are also on call over weekends and after hours for telehealth, following an initial discussion with our pharmacists.
In closing, we’d like to thank Nurse Practitioners Australia wide for the contributions they make to our health and wellbeing.