What Are the Skills of a Nurse Practitioner?

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A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has an advanced education, holding a minimum of a master's degree. A nurse practitioner is fully trained and skilled in diagnosing and managing common medical conditions and illnesses, and is licensed to provide a wide range of health care services. Nurse practitioners have the skills to provide patients with much of the same care as physicians and have a philosophy of providing individualized care for patients. Nurse practitioners are licensed in every state and are qualified to serve as a patient's primary care provider.

Individualized Care Skills

  • Nurse practitioners focus not only on patients' conditions, but on the effects of illness on a family as a whole. Their skills include knowledge of preventative medicine, nutrition, wellness and health education, and they serve as an advocate for their patients. Nurse practitioners are skilled at helping patients make informed decisions about their care and are skilled at creating an ongoing dialogue about an individual's lifestyle and health-related choices.

Medical Interpreting Skills

  • Nurse practitioners frequently monitor and treat patients' chronic medical conditions. The are skilled at taking detailed medical histories, conducting physical examinations, ordering, performing and interpreting diagnostic tests and prescribing appropriate medicines as needed.

Collaboration Skills

  • Nurse practitioners often collaborate with physicians and other health professionals as needed and provide referrals when necessary. They also have skills and knowledge regarding treatment options for various medical conditions, and are adept at explaining medical issues and potential outcomes to their patients. Nurse practitioners also have research skills and frequently contribute to medical research projects.

Specialty Skills

  • Nurse practitioners are skilled at treating patients of all ages with a wide range of conditions. Some specialize, just as physicians do, in a particular field of care. Nurse practitioners may have the individualized skills to specialize in family or women's medicine, pediatric care, patient rehabilitation and physical therapy or cardiovascular care. Other areas of specialization frequented by nurse practitioners include internal medicine, oncology, mental health, occupational health and urology.

Educational Skills

  • A licensed nurse practitioner must complete his or her training as a registered nurse, and an advanced degree is required by most states. Nurse practitioners must then complete a state-approved advanced training program. Nurse practitioners are then skilled to provide primary medical care in facilities including rural and city hospitals, medical clinics, family planning agencies and community health centers.

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