Everyone needs a primary care physician (PCP). This is the doctor who has the records of all of a person’s allergies, ailments or conditions, and surgeries. A PCP is the doctor to see when the flu overstays its welcome, a sinus infection sets in, or a dog bite becomes infected and turns into cellulitis. A PCP is usually a doctor, but can also be a Nurse Practitioner or a Physician Assistant working under the supervision or direction of a Physician.
The different primary care physicians available in Las Vegas
Doctors who are PCPs can be either Family Practice physicians or Internal Medicine physicians. Both have attended 4 years of medical school and have done a 3 year residency in order to be licensed. What differentiates one from the other is their focus during their residency.
Family Practice physicians’ training is focused on providing medical treatment for all age groups and all facets of routine medical needs. The residency of Internal Medicine doctors focuses only on treating adults facing diseases. Doctors in both practice areas participate in ongoing medical education throughout their practice.
Each of these physicians are capable of treating a wide variety of conditions and illnesses. They both offer health screenings, extensive physical examinations, wellness advice, and advise their patients on preventative healthcare. They both provide medical management for illnesses including, but not limited to; diabetes, HIV, high cholesterol, thyroid issues, weight management, and many other long-term conditions. They both also coordinate patients’ medical care with any specialists needed in the patients’ healthcare management.
Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants also offer wonderful medical care
Many medical practices also have Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to assist with taking care of their patients. Both are licensed to provide medical care, order diagnostic tests, and prescribe most medications.
Also known by the designation of APRN, Nurse Practitioners are licensed and certified to practice medicine without the supervision of a doctor in many areas. Nurse Practitioners have completed a bachelor’s degree in a registered nursing program and a master’s degree from a nurse practitioner program.
Nurse Practitioners are capable of providing medical advice, diagnoses, and treating acute illnesses and chronic conditions. According to the International Council of Nurse, an APRN has gained an expert knowledge base, developed multifaceted decision-making skills, and has acquired the clinical competency to practice medicine. Nurse Practitioners:
• Are skilled at managing both acute and chronic conditions
• Are trained in both mental and physical illness management
• Are completely capable of diagnosing medical problems and ordering treatment for them through the use of physical exams, patient history-taking, and diagnostic tests
• Can diagnose medical issues and choose and order treatments for them
• Can perform advanced therapeutic procedures
• Can prescribe medications
• Can make referrals to specialists for a vast range of both chronic and acute medical issues.
In some states in the United States, Nurse Practitioners are required to practice under the supervision of a licensed physician, but due to the shortage of primary care physicians in many states, this regulation is being phased out in several of those states, allowing Nurse Practitioners to practice independently.
Depending on their specialty, Nurse Practitioners may treat patients of all ages and serve as a Primary Care Physician. They may also specialize in areas such as cardiology, pain management, social services, dermatology, women’s health, oncology, orthopedics and many other areas. Most Nurse Practitioners tend to focus on a holistic approach to health care, emphasizing the promotion of health, patient education, and disease prevention. Some are even quite knowledgeable about supplements, herbs, and other natural remedies as well as drugs.
Physician Assistants have both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, and may also have a residency in a specialty area.
They can do most of what Nurse Practitioners can do, but it must be as part of a team with physicians.
Choosing a primary care physician is simply a function of deciding which of these competent medical professionals a person feels will meet his or her needs. Family Practice physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Internal Medicine physicians, and Physician Assistants are all excellent choices.
Keywords: family practice, Las Vegas