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I am getting my graduate degree in Nursing to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, and I believe that this profession will truly help address the cost issue of providing health care to more Americans. Although I will be paid less per visit than an MD, my total graduate degree will cost me around $26,000, and I can apply for loan forgiveness for some of that if I agree to practice with designated underserved populations.
Family Nurse Practitioners approach health care from a more holistic perspective (that from the perspective of Nursing care, not Doctor care, which is very different and tends to look more at chronic conditions and whether the patient will be able to comply with your advice or not). FNP's tend to spend more time with the patient by listening longer and conducting careful history taking. As a nurse I have had a lot of hands-on patient care BEFORE I will go into practice, so when I am training in clinicals I can focus on what is NOT normal. This gradual training, first in nursing school, then with several years of hands-on patient care, and then finally graduate level education, is in my opinion the best way to prepare a health care professional in the long run...it is economical, does not throw me to the wolves as a completely inexperienced clinician who has hardly had any hands-on experience, and along the way sharpens my ability to relate to the whole person I am seeing, not just the condition they have. This is what Nurse Practitioners do, and it is different than a Doctor.
What I find sad is the patient that thinks that because I do not have an MD after my name, or I don't have a nametag that calls me "Doctor Blank," that I cannot provide them the best care for their condition. I have also heard the statement "I don't want to see a Nurse, I want to see the DOCTOR!", and as one of your guests pointed out in the show, the Doctor may not be the health team member that could best address their concerns. Health care is very much a TEAM effort: the PATIENT, the Physician, the Nursing staff, the Physical Therapist, the Laboratory Tech, the Pharmacist, even the Office staff all contribute to the wellbeing of the patient. But please note that the FIRST member of the team is the PATIENT! If your health care advice comes from a Doctor, a Nurse Practitioner or any other team member, you are STILL the one in charge of your health care, and your primary care provider should be YOU. If you find you prefer a Family Nurse Practitioner for your office visits, you can save yourself and the health care system a lot of money in the long run.
posted 2 years, 3 months ago
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