WASHINGTON, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — When you have your annual check-up with your healthcare practitioner, who do you typically see? If you’re seeing a nurse practitioner (NP)—advanced practice nurses —you can feel comfortable that they are providing high-quality healthcare services, focusing on health promotion, disease prevention, health education and counseling. Nurse practitioners are known for helping patients make wise health and lifestyle choices.
While research(1) conducted by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) shows that 81 percent of Americans have had or know someone who has had a direct experience with a nurse practitioner, still many are not sure exactly what role this valuable healthcare practitioner plays in the healthcare paradigm. And as consumers are increasingly consulting with or being treated by a nurse practitioner, they may be curious about (or lack information on) what a nurse practitioner does generally, and what capabilities they have. In fact, 60 percent of U.S. adults admitted that they have no idea what a nurse practitioner’s capabilities are, or they could not articulate them. It may be time to brush up on that knowledge: who is the nurse practitioner?
Nurse practitioners practice in a number of settings including private physician or NP practices, retail-based clinics (such as national chain drugstores), hospitals, nursing homes, public health departments and more. Among their many services, nurse practitioners: order, perform and interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and x-rays; diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, infections and injuries; prescribe medications and other treatments; manage a patient’s care.
Aside from performing these kinds of specific medical tests, nurse practitioners also treat the whole person and not simply their symptoms.
Here are some other factoids about nurse practitioners(2):
*97% of nurse practitioners agree that in order for healthcare in the U.S. to improve, it’s important that all Americans take responsibility for their own health.
*82% of nurse practitioners agree that there are gaps in their patients’ diets that could effectively be addressed with dietary supplements.
*59% of nurse practitioners believe that in the next five years, Americans will take measurable steps to improve their wellness habits.
*83% of nurse practitioners agree it’s a good idea for patients to take multivitamins.
*58% of nurse practitioners agree that patients have a good understanding of actionable steps they can take to improve their overall wellness.
Nurse practitioners agree that the following are major barriers to Americans being healthy: Stress of daily lives caused by demanding jobs and hectic lifestyles (96%); Not getting enough rest (94%); Staying indoors and not getting enough physical activity due to weather (89%); Overindulging during the holidays or on vacation (76%); and, Not being able to find healthy food while on the road (72%).
As Americans take more responsibility for proactively staying healthy, it is important that they understand the different options they have available to them when they are choosing a healthcare practitioner. To locate a nurse practitioner in your area, visit www.NPfinder.com.
(1) From the Nurse Practitioners Media Omnibus Memo by KRC Research
(2) From the 2009 “Life…supplemented” Healthcare Professionals Impact Study.
SOURCE Council for Responsible Nutrition