reviewed 9/6/2018

Nurse practitioners: True or false?

Every year, millions of Americans turn to nurse practitioners for medical care. And if you haven't met one of these top-notch providers yet, you may soon. That's because their numbers are rapidly rising. Test your knowledge about how a nurse practitioner might help you or a loved one.

True or false: Nurse practitioners can help patients in many of the same ways doctors can.

True. Like doctors, they manage their patients' overall care. Nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat infections, injuries, and chronic health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure. They can also prescribe medicine and other treatments and perform and order diagnostic tests.

True or false: Nurse practitioners deliver a lower standard of care than doctors.

False. Patients who turn to nurse practitioners report an extremely high level of satisfaction with their care. And that's not surprising—nurse practitioners are highly educated and qualified. First they finish nursing school, become a registered nurse and then complete a master's or doctoral degree program. They also undergo rigorous national certification.

True or false: Nurse practitioners offer primary care but not specialty care.

False. Though nurse practitioners often focus on primary care, many practice in highly specialized areas. Those include dermatology, neurology, oncology, orthopedics and sports medicine.

True or false: Nurse practitioners mostly treat illnesses and leave preventive care to doctors.

False. While they do treat illnesses, they also concentrate on disease prevention. And you can build a relationship with a nurse practitioner as your primary provider. Through counseling and education, they help their patients make smarter health and lifestyle choices.

True or false: Nurse practitioners only see patients at walk-in clinics.

False. Nurse practitioners help people in a variety of settings, including doctors' offices, hospitals, clinics and schools. Some even make house calls.

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Sources: American Association of Nurse Practitioners; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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