5 Things You Should Know About Nurse Practitioners

Published: Friday, November 13, 2020

When thinking of your go-to healthcare provider, what’s the first expert that comes to mind? Most likely it’s a physician (an MD or DO). While physicians are certainly a key leader on your care team, they work very closely with a variety of other experts, including nurses, patient care techs and nurse practitioners (NPs). Chances are, you’ve encountered all of the above at different points throughout your patient journey.

However, even though NPs are extremely common, their expertise and role is often misunderstood. As an integral part of care teams, NPs work very closely with patients and manage many aspects of their care directly.

1. What exactly is a nurse practitioner?

To become an NP, also known as an advanced practice provider, a registered nurse (RN) must complete a master’s or doctoral program, as well as receive additional clinical training. Furthermore, similar to physicians, NPs must go through an in-depth certification and licensing process to ensure they’re up-to-date with regulations and care practices.

2. Do nurse practitioners have specialties?

With extensive and advanced training, NPs often concentrate on a particular specialty, which can range from acute care or gerontology to cardiovascular health. At Georgia Heart Institute, we have more than 45 highly-trained and experienced NPs, all of which bring expertise in one of seven sub-specialties, including:

  • Non-invasive Cardiology
  • Interventional Cardiology
  • Heart Failure
  • Electrophysiology
  • VAD
  • Structural Heart
  • Cardiac Observation Unit (COU)

3. How do nurse practitioners approach care?

With a wide array of in-depth training, NPs not only bring ample expertise to their clinical role, they also prioritize disease prevention and proactive care. This perspective ensures that regardless of where patients are in their health journey, they receive comprehensive care that combines overall wellness with disease management. Plus, as part of a larger care team, NPs emphasize collaboration amongst experts to ensure the best patient experience and outcomes.

4. How can nurse practitioners help me?

At Georgia Heart Institute, NPs work very closely with patients to help with everything from routine office visits to long-term care, including:

  • Conducting follow-up exams after you’ve had a heart procedure or regular check-ups between appointments with your cardiologist 
  • Prescribing and managing medications 
  • Ordering cardiac testing and diagnostic services
  • Diagnosing and managing heart disease and other heart conditions
  • Advising you regarding your specific condition, previous procedures and treatments

5. When should I see a nurse practitioner?

If you’re a current patient at Georgia Heart Institute, you can request an appointment with the NP that is a part of your personal care team. Whether you have questions about a condition or need specific care, an NP can help. These experts will provide the thorough care you need, and if more advanced or specialized services are needed, they will coordinate that process for you. Meet our advanced practitioners!