The alarm clock goes off around 5 am, time for a quick workout and mental preparation for the day ahead. Coffee, vitamins, and a grab and go power breakfast moves the practitioner into gear. Time to check professional emails, messages, and check in with the office before rounding on patients at the hospital and rehabilitation and nursing home facilities, with the final destination at the office. Once at the office, the practitioner prepares to start meeting with each patient scheduled for the day, taking time to listen closely to each patient’s complaints and concerns with a compassionate and caring heart, as well as carefully review pertinent diagnostic tests and reports from other collaborating clinicians. Next, discussion of the results and the practitioner’s diagnosis and recommendations take place with the patient, to create a treatment plan and prescribe the appropriate therapies that are patient centered, facilitating maximum health and wellness. Patient education and counseling is done, specific for each patient at the end of the visit, as well as time for questions and clarifications. Finally, follow up care phone calls and appointments are scheduled as needed. Once the office appointments are completed, scheduled home visits for patients needing care who are unable to get to the practitioner’s office are done. The evening and weekends are reserved for not only personal time, but also continued research and learning, because a competent and caring health professional participates in life-long learning. The universal school of thought in both nursing and medicine is: “The day you stop learning is the day you should retire from practicing!”
As a Nurse Practitioner in private practice, I am often asked “what is the difference between a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and a Physician?” As you can see in the above expose’ primary care physicians and NP’s are similar in diagnosing patients and planning treatment and management of acute and chronic illnesses. Moreover, studies have found that NPs perform about 80% of what physicians do. In addition, research finds the care of a Nurse Practitioner to be at least equivalent to the care a physician provides. Both health professionals practice the healing arts, but they do so from different philosophies and perspectives.
All nurse practitioners must complete a rigorous master’s or doctoral degree program with advanced clinical courses and specialized training, as well as pass a national board certification to be licensed in the state at which they practice, in order to ensure the highest quality of care as a healthcare practitioner.
NPs are licensed in all states as well as the District of Columbia, and practice under the rules and regulations of the state in which they are licensed and those regulations vary greatly. Florida is considered one of the most restrictive states for NP practice. In Florida, nurse practitioners may own and operate their own practice, however they must have a collaborative agreement with a physician. This agreement ensures the NP has a professional peer to collaborate with, if necessary, regarding the care and treatment of patients. NP’s are governed by the Florida Board of Nursing and according to Rule 64B9-4.010(1), Florida Administrative Code, an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner shall only perform medical acts of diagnosis, treatment, and operation pursuant to a protocol between the ARNP and a Florida-licensed medical doctor, osteopathic physician, or dentist. As of January 1, 2017 Nurse Practitioner’s, licensed in the State of Florida may apply for a DEA license and have the ability to prescribe certain controlled medications.
The Physician and Nurse Practitioner’s assessment skills and knowledge often coincide and is complementary, but each has a core philosophy and expertise that is distinct and unique. NP’s care for people in all aspects of their lives from a holistic perspective of mind, body, and spirit. Therefore, NP’s make ideal primary care providers because their idea of maintaining maximum wellness emphasizes patient specific health education, disease risk identification and reduction, and illness prevention and management through, not only traditional medical care, but also lifestyle modification and supportive care.
Florida Board of Nursing http://floridasnursing.gov/latest-news/standards-for-protocols-physicians-and-arnps/