Nurse practitioners diagnose and treat both sudden and long-term conditions. They may do physical exams, physical therapy or order tests and therapies for patients. NPs order, perform or interpret results of blood tests, EKGs and X-rays. They use these tools, along with patient symptoms and medical history to develop the right diagnosis.
Registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree who are interested in becoming nurse practitioners can qualify for the position by earning a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing. Many nurse practitioners specialize in a specific area of medicine, such as pediatrics or family medicine, during their graduate study. Advanced practice nurses operate in one of four roles: nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife or clinical nurse specialist. The successful completion of a graduate degree program and licensure requirements prepares graduates to sit for certification examinations specific to their careers.