Does a Nurse Practitioner need to work with or under a doctor?

In the mid-1980s, Washington became one of the first states to allow Nurse Practitioners “expanded scope of practice” and to work without physician oversight.  Nurse Practitioners are educated to practice as independent practitioners.  While many Nurse Practitioners choose to work in hospitals or physician based groups (because there are far more job opportunities), they are still working independently.


What is the difference between a doctor and a Nurse Practitioner?

The scope of practice between a doctor and a Nurse Practitioner are similar.  NP’s can assess, diagnose, interpret lab and diagnostic tests, refer patients, and prescribe medications.  Additionally, they can perform office-based procedures.  NP’s are experts in health promotion and disease prevention, and will spend time asking questions, teaching and managing care in a holistic approach.


What is a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner?

Upon graduation from a Master’s or Doctorate program, Nurse Practitioners must pass a rigorous Board Exam which then certifies them in their profession.   To remain actively certified, NP’s must complete yearly continuing education in their area of specialty.  This keeps them knowledgeable and up to date on current recommendations and guidelines.