Nurse practitioners are trained specialist nurses. They have undertaken additional medical education in order to provide advanced nursing care and to prescribe medication.
Nurse practitioners can provide treatment and advice for many problems for which you may have seen a doctor for in the past. Their main areas of expertise are in the management of common illnesses and long term conditions.
The nurse practitioners can assess and examine you, make a diagnosis and provide advice and treatment including a prescription if required. They can make referrals to hospital doctors or other health care professionals, and admit patients to hospital when necessary.
There are some limits to their responsibilities. Unfortunately, they are unable legally to sign a sick certificate, so you will still need to see your own GP for this. They do not treat children under the age of 2 years, or expectant mothers, both of whom are always referred to a doctor.
The nurse practitioners work closely with your doctor and liaise frequently with her/him about your care.
Here is the list of what they can treat you for:
- Acute back pain, joint sprains
- Minor injuries
- Acute chest infection
- Conjunctivitis, sticky discharging eye, sty
- Diarrhoea, constipation, piles
- Dizziness, giddiness
- Earache, swollen glands
- Oral thrush
- Raised temperature that does not improve after one week of pharmacists’ advice and home treatment
- Tonsillitis, cough, sinusitis, sore throat, colds and flu-like illnesses
- Urinary tract infections
- Vaginal thrush, soreness, lump or discharge
- Wounds, scalds, burns, rashes, insect bites