You wake up one morning with awful flu symptoms and call your doctor. Unfortunately, she’s out of town, but the nurse practitioner (NP) is available instead. The NP examines you, cultures your throat, writes a prescription, and sends you on your way to recovery.
Today’s advanced-practice nurses (including NPs) perform tasks once reserved for medical doctors. They assist other medical professionals and manage patient care. And some specialize in fields such as pediatrics (working with children and teens) and oncology (working with cancer patients).
Advanced-practice nurses diagnose and treat illnesses and provide health care. Most are also certified to prescribe medication.
“I can't call the doctors at the hospital for every decision I need to make. I was hired to make these decisions by myself.” Joan, Nurse Practitioner
Caring, sympathetic, detail oriented, and able to make quick, logical decisions. You must be able to cope with emergencies, stress, and suffering -- and remain levelheaded all the while. You'll encourage patients to get well and, sometimes, help them to let go.
Certified registered nurse anesthetists are advanced-practice nurses who give anesthesia to patients, ensuring that they feel no pain or discomfort during surgery.