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What is a Nurse Practitioner

Recent medical reviews[i] note a nationwide trend toward increased roles for nurse practitioners in health care delivery.  In The Urology Group, we have embraced the value of nurse practitioners and they are an integral part of our group.  The report notes that nurse practitioners “can diagnose and manage acute and chronic urologic diseases, order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment, provide patient education and counseling, facilitate patient adherence, and perform (select) procedures”.

Nurse practitioners pursue a vigorous program of education and training. First, nurse practitioners complete a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.  After working in a clinical setting for at least two years, they pursue a Master’s degree in Nursing, which requires 24 months of full-time academic coursework followed by 500 hours of clinical experience.  They are licensed through state agencies and receive professional board certification from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).  They pursue ongoing annual continuing medical education, and are recertified every five years. 

Our nurse practitioners have further developed urology-specific knowledge, and have particular expertise in the diagnosis and management of urologic conditions.

For the urology physicians in the group, we recognize that urology is a surgical specialty, dealing with conditions which often require emergent surgical intervention.  Our office schedules are vulnerable to the unpredictable interruptions associated with the demand for these emergent surgical procedures.  The planned activities set for a day may be changed in an instant, depending on the need for emergent surgeries.  Because much of the urology physician time is spent in the operating room, and the office schedule is subject to change, we value our nurse practitioner colleagues who are reliably available in the office to provide timely care for patients, with expert capability in the evaluation and treatment of patients with urologic disorders.

As noted in the review, “The health care practice milieu is expected to shift significantly during the next decade.  Non-physician providers will play a substantial role…in subspecialty practices.  To accommodate changes in workload and quality of care, the nurse practitioner will become an essential facet of the urologic practice.”  At The Urology Group, the nurse practitioners are already there.

 


[i] AUA Update Series 2011, “Utilization of non-physician providers in urological practice”, Kroft, K.H. and Snyder H.M.