My Education: BS Umass Microbiology MSN MGH Institute of Health Profession, adult nurse practitioner
My Prior Experience: Nurse practitioner, private practice Chelmsford MA
Staff nurse, MCI Concord
Staff nurse Mass General Hospital
My Company: Provide primary care to adults and children (I work with adults only).
Job/Career Overview: I do physical exams, sick visits, pre-operative exams, and follow up visits. I also do prescription refills, evaluate lab results and diagnostic test results. I help to provide coverage for doctors and other NPs on vacation. I return patient calls and answer their questions. I do a lot of patient education about all sorts of heatlh issues.
I have a sub-specialization in diabetes. This is an area where experienced practitioners are really in demand. Unfortunately, there is a significant increase in type II diabetes in this country due to obesity, poor diet and the sedentary lifestyle Americans tend to lead.
More Insights: Many people don't know that nurse practitioners actually function quite independently. While we have supervising physicians, we can usually handle at least 80% of the issues that people visit primary care offices to discuss. This number rises with experiences. We can diagnose, treat most medical problems prescribe medications and physical therapy. We can orders labs and diagnostic tests. we are especially adept in the areas of health promotion and patient education.
I rate this career 8 out of 10.
The best parts of the job are the relationships that I form with both patients and co-workers. It can be really rewarding to see people feeling better or helping them to optimize their health.
The most difficult part is the paperwork. After I finish seeing patients, the work is never done. I have many office visit notes, forms to fill out for insurance companies and employers.
Pursue a well-rounded education. It helps to be strong in math, science and the liberal arts in this field.
You really need to be both patient and empathetic to work in healthcare. Try working as a nurse's aide or medical assistant first if possible. This will give you some idea of whether you will like the work.
You must also be a team player. You will need to be able to work cooperatively with a lot of different providers - nurses, doctors, medical assistants, physical therapists etc.
It helps to be able to think on your feet and have good communication skills. You need to be able to explain a patient's history using a description that is concise yet complete.