The role of the nurse practitioner was first developed in America in the 80’s in response to a shortage of junior doctors. The nurses were given additional training in history taking, clinical examination, interpretation of results, diagnosing, prescribing, treatment and referral and were found to be a safe alternative to a doctor. Patients were satisfied with the treatment they received and found additional benefits in seeing a Nurse practitioner.
In the UK, the first nurse practitioner courses affiliated to the Universities were in the 90’s and were introduced in primary care to meet the challenges of 24 hour access to a health care professional and 48 hours to see a GP. It was envisaged with additional training at master’s level, the nurse practitioner would be able to see minor illnesses/disease to free the GP up to see patients with more complex needs. Nurse practitioners were also instrumental in setting up nurse triage services to ensure that patients were seen at the right time, at the right place with the right professional.
Role of the Nurse Practitioner in Primary Care
A qualified experienced Nurse practitioner can assess, diagnose, treat or refer any patient presenting at surgery. As a nurse practitioner I am able to offer a safe alternative to your GP but will work as a team member with other nurses, health care assistants, doctors and receptionists to meet your needs.
I have been an Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) for the past 14 years in primary care, previous to that I worked as a Health Visitor with families and children. I started nursing at 17 years of age at Pinderfields Hospital where I did my orthopaedic nurse training and completed my General Nurse Training at York District Hospital. I worked on the children’s ward for a while before becoming a school nurse. I quickly progressed to becoming a Health Visitor as I had a strong belief that prevention is better than cure and health promotion vital for the future. I worked as a Health Visitor for 11 years but my heart was in general practice. I am trained in Asthma, COPD Women’s health, family planning and diabetes. I have experience in managing mental health problems like depression and anxiety. I am happy to offer advice over the telephone or face to face. I am a nurse prescriber so able to do prescriptions as needed. I can order blood tests, X rays, other investigations and referral to other services.
I am able to manage common presenting conditions in primary care but happy to assess anything. The following list gives some examples but is not exhaustive.
- Babies and children who are unwell with a fever, rash, earache, sore throat, cough etc or any concerns around feeding, growth or development, behaviour, emotional development etc.
- Acute illness for example, coughs, tonsillitis, sinusitis, ear problems, eye problems, rashes, urine infections, high fever, generally feeling unwell
- Eczema, shingles, scabies, psoriasis, allergic rashes, thrush, leg ulcers, lumps, bumps and other rashes.
- Womens health, pills, family planning, emergency contraception, sexual health, period problems, menopause, infections etc.
- Exacerbations of asthma, COPD, hay fever, allergies or any other respiratory problem.
- Problems with diabetes.
- Joint problems, lower back pain, neck, shoulder, knee, ankle problems, sprains.
- Monitoring and assessment of existing problems, hypertension, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, epilepsy etc.
- Depression and anxiety.