A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse with advanced academic and clinical experience, which enables him or her to diagnose and manage most common and many chronic illnesses, either independently or as part of a health care team. A nurse practitioner provides much outpatient care previously offered only by physicians and in most states, including Oregon, has the ability to autonomously prescribe medications. In Oregon, Nurse Practitioners are licensed to practice medicine independently. A nurse practitioner provides high-quality, cost-effective and individualized care for the life span of patient’s special needs.
NPs focus largely on health maintenance, disease prevention, counseling and patient education in a wide variety of settings. With a strong emphasis on primary care, nurse practitioners are employed within a variety of different specialties, including nurse midwifery, family practice, psychiatric mental health, adult and women’s helath geriatrics and acute care. Here at Southwest Family Physicians our Nurse Practitioners specialize in Midwifery, Family Practice and Psychiatric Mental Health.
In the state of Oregon, Nurse Practitioners are required to have been educated through programs that grant a master’s degree. A registered nurse is recommended to first have extensive clinical experience even before applying to a nurse practitioner program. An intensive preceptorship under the direct supervision of an experienced nurse practitioner or a physician, as well as instruction in nursing theory, are key components to most NP programs.