What Is a Nurse Practitioner?

Many people have heard of nurse practitioners (NPs) before, but they’re not really sure exactly what makes them different from a regular registered nurse (RN). The reality is that nurse practitioners are much more like doctors than nurses. Although they do perform some of the same duties as nurses, like taking a patient’s medical history or administering medication, NPs are also able to perform physical examinations, order diagnostic tests, analyze test results, create patient care plans, and perform certain procedures.

One of the most important things to know about nurse practitioners is that, like doctors, they can also diagnose and treat medical conditions, including illnesses and diseases. They can also prescribe medication and write referrals for specialists. Sometimes, nurse practitioners work alongside a general practitioner (GP), also known as a family doctor or internist. However, they often work independently to diagnose and treat patients.

Some states place certain limits on what types of healthcare services nurse practitioners can provide. In states where NPs can serve as primary care providers, they have the authority to work without a doctor’s supervision.

There are many types of nurse practitioner specialties, including:

  • Pediatric nurse practitioners
  • Family nurse practitioners
  • Women’s health nurse practitioners
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioners
  • Orthopedic nurse practitioners
  • Acute care nurse practitioners
  • Emergency nurse practitioners
  • Oncology nurse practitioners
  • Neonatal nurse practitioners
  • Adult-gerontology nurse practitioners

Nurse practitioners are required to complete continuing education courses throughout their career. They can also earn a number of different credentials, such as certified nurse practitioners, advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP), or advanced practice nurse practitioner (APRN).

Nurse Practitioner’s Role in ADHD Diagnosis

Nurse practitioners are qualified to diagnose ADHD. Just like a general practitioner, they can evaluate patients for ADHD and make an informed assessment of whether an individual has the condition.

One of the advantages of going to a nurse practitioner for an ADHD evaluation is that it may be easier to make an appointment with an NP compared to a family doctor. Though it’s not always the case, NPs often have more availability than general practitioners. That can make a big difference for someone who’s struggling with ADHD symptoms, especially since many medical offices are overwhelmed with requests for ADHD testing and a significant number of patients are facing months-long waits to be seen.

Additionally, appointments with nurse practitioners are more affordable than those with a GP in many cases. In fact, recent studies have found that care provided by NPs was up to 34% less costly than care provided by physicians. If you’re concerned about costs, you should check with your insurance and call medical offices in advance to find out what you’ll owe in terms of copays and other appointment fees.

Nurse practitioners can treat ADHD as well. They can prescribe medications, including stimulants, to help manage ADHD symptoms. If you see a psychiatric NP (a nurse practitioner who has completed a psychiatry program), they can also provide counseling as a trained therapist. If you’re unsure of whether a nurse practitioner you’re thinking about seeing for your ADHD offers this service, contact them in advance. Many nurse practitioners have training in the treatment of mental health disorders and therapeutic interventions, and even if they don’t provide counseling themselves, they may be able to provide personalized referrals based on your unique needs.

Who Can Diagnose ADHD?

In addition to nurse practitioners, there are several other types of healthcare professionals who can provide an ADHD diagnosis. Some of those professionals include:

  • Pediatricians and family doctors
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Neurologists
  • Master level counselors
  • Social workers

Keep in mind that only some of the options on this list are able to prescribe ADHD medication. The healthcare professionals who can both diagnose ADHD and prescribe medication for treatment are psychiatrists, pediatricians, family doctors, and nurse practitioners.

ADHD Diagnosis with Done

If you think you might have ADHD, the first thing you need to do is seek a diagnosis. It’s important to be evaluated by someone who’s qualified to make a diagnosis. At Done’s telehealth clinic, our board-certified and licensed ADHD clinicians are available to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re curious about a possible diagnosis or need assistance in finding the right treatment.