Goose Creek Family Practice


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What is a nurse practitioner?


Nurse Practitioners provide vital access to high quality health care.


What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered professional nurses who are prepared, through advanced graduate education and clinical training, to provide a wide range of health care services, including the diagnosis and management of common, as well as complex, medical conditions to individuals of all ages.


Credentialing for Practice

Licensure as a Registered Nurse

Graduate education (Master's or Doctoral) with preparation in the NP role and at least one population specialty

National Board certification in neonatal, pediatric, family, women's health, adult, geriatric, psychiatric or acute care



Nurse Practitioners provide comprehensive care within an area of specialization and can:

  • Evaluate and individual's health by taking a history, performing a physical examination and ordering and interpreting results from appropriate laboratory and diagnostic tests/procedures;
  • Diagnose health and medical conditions by reviewing all available health information, and applying advanced clinical decision making processes;
  • Manage health problems by developing an individualized plan of care, prescribing medications or treatments, obtaining consultations and referrals, and coordinating health care services;
  • Promote health by ordering screenings, prescribing preventive therapies (vaccinations, diets, exercise, etc.) and teaching and counseling of individuals, families, and groups;
  • Collaborate with patients and families, and other health care providers.


A NP can serve as a patient's primary health care provider and is able to provide the coordination and management of care required in various health care delivery models, such as medical home, accountable care organizations, transitional care, etc.



Nurse Practitioners practice within the scope of their state's nurse practice act. They are legally authorized to provide comprehensive care management, including prescribing medications. In many states NP's own and practice in their own offices.


NPs may be reimbursed as primary care providers under Medicare, Medicaid and by many private insurers. They may also be empanelled by HMOs as a primary care provider. In some instances federal regulations limit a NP's ability to order essential care. For example, the Center's for Medicare and Medicaid Services prohibit NPs from ordering home health care.


Quality of Care

Extensive research has been conducted to evaluate the quality and safety of care provided by nurse practitioners. These studies have demonstrated that the outcomes of care provided by NPs are comparable to and in some cases exceed those of physicians.

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