Family Nurse Practitioner

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

A nurse practitioner is an experienced registered nurse who holds a master’s degree and has advanced training in the diagnosis and management of common, as well as complex health problems of people of all ages.


Are Nurse Practitioners new?

Nurse practitioners have been providing top-quality primary care in the United States since 1965. There are over 150,000 nurse practitioners nation-wide.


How do you become a Nurse Practitioner?

An experienced registered nurse holding a bachelor’s degree completes a two-to-three year graduate-level program leading to a master’s degree. The training in the program includes many hours of classroom and clinical training. The program must meet the standards developed by two government agencies as well as the Oregon State Board of Nursing for Oregon licensure. The Nurse Practitioner must also pass a national certification exam.


What can a Nurse Practitioner do?

The scope of practice for nurse practitioners varies from state to state and I think this has been a source of confusion for people new to the area. Nurse practitioners in Oregon have an independent practice where physician supervision or involvement is not required. Nurse practitioners are licensed to provide primary and acute care to people of all ages. Nurse practitioners take patient histories, provide complete physical exams, diagnose and treat acute and chronic health conditions, order and interpret laboratory and other diagnostic tests, prescribe therapies and medications including controlled drugs and refer to specialty providers.


Can a Nurse Practitioner bill my insurance?

Yes. Nurse practitioners are entitled by law to reimbursement by third-party payers. They are also designated as Primary Care Providers or Preferred Providers on most major managed care plans. With few exceptions, the reimbursement for nurse practitioners is equal to that of the physician.


Is Nurse Practitioner care healthy and safe?

There have been many government and private studies over the years assessing nurse practitioner care. In these studies, nurse practitioner care and physician care were considered equal.