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Nurse practitioners treat both physical and mental conditions through comprehensive history taking, physical exams, and ordering tests for interpretation. NPs can provide a diagnosis and recommendations for a wide range of acute and chronic diseases (within their scope of practice) and provide appropriate treatment for patients, including prescribing medications in some states. NPs can serve as a patient’s primary health care provider, and see patients of all ages depending on their specialty (family, pediatrics, geriatrics, etc.).
Similar to all medical professions, the core philosophy of the field is individualized care that focuses on patients’ conditions as well as the effects of illness on the lives of the patients and their families. NPs make prevention, wellness, and patient education priorities. In addition to health care services, NPs conduct research and are often active in patient advocacy activities. To become licensed/certified to practice, Nurse Practitioners hold board certification in an area (such as family, women’s health, pediatrics, adult, acute care, etc.), and are licensed through the state nursing boards. NPs must practice within the scope of their certification.