Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: What is the Role of a Nurse Practitioner?


Our focus this week is on the role a nurse practitioner plays in a physician's office.  The prevalence of nurse practitioners is increasing in medicine, with more and more joining primary care practices. 

“There is a shortage right now of primary care physicians and nurse practitioners have stepped up to fill that void and are here to help patients have better access to healthcare,” said Brooke Kunstbeck, a nurse practitioner at Sentara Greene Family Medicine. 

But what exactly does a nurse practitioner do? 

“An appointment with a nurse practitioner in a primary care setting is very much like what they would have with a physician,” said Kunstbeck. “It starts with a discussion, health history, any problems or health concerns they may have at that time, and then physical exam, and any identified needs if lab tests would be indicated or any further testing would be ordered.”

Nurse practitioners start their careers as nurses, and then go on to get advanced degrees.  If they have questions about their patients, they work collaboratively with doctors in their office to get answers. 

“It’s a close teamwork.  We have physicians and nurse practitioners and we use our physicians as a collaborating co-worker if we had a question or something we weren’t quite sure about.  It’s a good support system,” said Kunstbeck.

The main goal of nurse practitioners is to help patients stay well, prevent disease, and listen to their needs. 

“We try to take our time, and listen to what patients are saying and what their concerns are,” said Kunstbeck.

For more information on this topic, please call 1-800-SENTARA. If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, email healthquestions@nbc29.com

Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday

Do you have health questions? Get the answers every Monday morning from the experts in our feature: Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday.

Jenn Downs will meet with the experts of Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital and ask them your questions. You’ll see and hear the answers during NBC29 News at Sunrise every Monday morning.

To submit your questions, email them to healthquestions@nbc29.com. Then, tune in every Monday morning during NBC29 News at Sunrise for Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday.

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