Health Alert: Nurse Practitioners

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WDTV) -- Each year Americans make more than 870 million visits to a nurse practitioner. Tonight on Health Alert, we are going to focus on what that means for you and your health care. Melisa Bedilion, NP, from UHC Oncology joins us.

Question: Help us to understand the concept of a nurse practitioner as some folks may not be familiar?

Answer: A nurse practitioner is quickly becoming the health partner of choice for millions of Americans. As clinicians that blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management, NPs bring a comprehensive perspective to health care.

Question: What is the benefit to the patient in having the availability of a nurse practitioner?

Answer: A nurse practitioner can:

-Lower health-care costs - By providing high-quality care and counseling, NPs can lower the cost of health care for patients. For example, patients who see NPs as their primary care provider often have fewer emergency room visits, shorter hospital stays and lower medication costs.

-Provide patient satisfaction - With over 870 million visits made to NPs each year (as you alluded to earlier), patients report an extremely high level of satisfaction with the care they receive.

-Provide a primary care shortage solution - By offering high-quality, cost-effective, patient-centered health care, NPs provide more than 234,000 solutions to the primary care shortage facing America today.

Question: Tell us what a day-in-the-life of a nurse practitioner is like?

Answer: Autonomously and in collaboration with health care professionals and other individuals, NPs provide a full range of primary, acute, and specialty health care services, including:

-Ordering, performing, and interpreting diagnostic tests such as lab work and x-rays.

-Diagnosing and treating acute and chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, infections, and injuries.

-Prescribing medications and other treatments.

-Managing patients' overall care.

-Counseling.

-Educating patients on disease prevention and positive health and lifestyle choices.

WEB EXCLUSIVE
Question: What sets a nurse practitioner apart from other health care providers?

Answer: What sets NPs apart from other health care providers is their unique emphasis on the health and well-being of the whole person. With a focus on health promotion, disease prevention, and health education and counseling, NPs guide patients in making smarter health and lifestyle choices, which in turn can lower patients' out-of-pocket costs.
To be recognized as expert health care providers and ensure the highest quality of care, NPs undergo rigorous national certification, periodic peer review, clinical outcome evaluations, and adhere to a code for ethical practices. Self-directed continued learning and professional development is also essential to maintaining clinical competency.
Additionally, to promote quality health care and improve clinical outcomes, NPs lead and participate in both professional and lay health care forums, conduct research and apply findings to clinical practice.