Upon starting our adventures of Blogging, we have decided here at the clinic we want to share all of the fun interesting questions we get asked working in a Functional Medicine Clinic.
Today this question is coming from Brandy: I am always getting asked what the difference is between a nurse practitioner and a doctor.
Answer: A doctor is a terminal or the last/highest degree of schooling. In college you acquire degrees in this order: Associates (2 year degree), Bachelors (4 year degree), Masters (6+ year degree), and Doctorates (8+ years). A nurse practitioner is someone that has moved up through schooling working their way through the hierarchy of nursing. Beginning as a certified nurses assistant, achieving their associates degree typically in science, then applying and acquiring the associates degree as an advanced nurse (ADN), then these advanced degree nurses (RN) take nursing boards to be able to provide care under the direction of a provider. Then the ADN RN can further their education by acquiring their bachelors degree, allowing them to move into a masters degree program. Nurse Practitioners hold a masters of science in nursing as a nurse practitioner (NP), then once their schooling is complete they test again to become a board certified provider, meaning they can provide health care and practice medicine. The NP can stop attending school at this point and have a very rewarding career or they can continue on for their doctorates degree. This is what I (Brandy) has chosen to do. This will allow me to conduct research or teach at a college level. Also, only 1% of all nurses in the nation have a terminal degree. So I can go by the title Dr. Brandy Tafoya, however I am a nurse and will always be a nurse and love going by Brandy.
So my take home message from today's blog post is that a NP can be a doctor, they just went to different schooling then a doctor of Medicine (MD) or doctor of Osteopath (DO).
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