I’m a nurse; what’s your superpower?– Andy Ward, a nurse practitioner working at St. Mary’s Physician in Edin, Oklahoma.
In a time when there’s a shortage of primary care physicians, nurse practitioners have emerged as a popular and practical choice in healthcare. Andy Ward from Enid defines a Nurse Practitioner as a medical professional who practices the art of medicine. Nurse practitioners hold master’s or doctoral degrees and are independently licensed by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. Their role closely parallels that of a family doctor.
Ward emphasizes, “I can and must prescribe medications and tests, make diagnoses, and create treatment plans. But fundamentally, we are nurses first, and our approach to health is holistic. We aim not only to heal the sick but also to keep the healthy from falling ill.”
Nurse practitioners offer a wide range of healthcare services, including prescribing medications, conducting and interpreting diagnostic tests, providing treatments, managing general care, and assisting patients in making choices for disease prevention and overall health. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, they handle nearly 916 million patient visits annually.
Nurses have become an integral part of the healthcare system, and many physicians rely on their skills to enhance patient care. Specializations within nursing encompass critical care, family nursing, gerontology, neonatology, oncology, pediatric health, mental health, and women’s health. Collaboration between nurses and doctors ensures that patients receive the best possible healthcare experience.
Ward affirms, “Patients always have the option to consult a physician for follow-up, but doctors trust nurses, and nurses value the effective insights provided by doctors. This partnership benefits all parties involved, with the ultimate focus on delivering the highest quality care, especially for our patients.