The health care industry is evolving quickly. As demands for health services increase, the providers who deliver these services are changing as well. Beyond just a physician, there are other primary health care providers who may be assisting you.
Mid-level providers are licensed professionals who can diagnose and treat illness
A mid-level provider is a licensed professional who can diagnose and treat illness. They have extensive training in all aspects of primary care and are capable of providing medical services that include:
Diagnosing illnesses and injuries
Performing tests to determine the cause of symptoms
Prescribing medications when appropriate
The responsibilities of a physician assistant or nurse practitioner are similar in many ways to those of a doctor. They may help with diagnosis, treatment and management of patients’ conditions.
Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are two types of mid-level providers
There are two main types of mid-level providers: Nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Most often found in primary care settings, these providers typically work alongside doctors (though in some states can practice independently) to provide the same care your physician provides. While these two mid-level types perform the same care tasks, their degrees are somewhat different.
Nurse practitioners are licensed professionals who diagnose illness, treat patients and provide long-term care. They can prescribe medications and order lab tests. In many states they can even perform minor surgeries. Nurse practitioners need at least an associate’s degree from an accredited school of nursing; some also hold bachelor’s degrees from accredited colleges or universities with majors in fields such as biology or chemistry.
Similarly, physician assistants also diagnose illness, treat patients and provide long-term care under the supervision of physicians who license them to practice medicine (as well as osteopathy in some cases). Like nurse practitioners, most PAs hold bachelor’s degrees from accredited colleges or universities with majors in fields such as biology or chemistry–or some other science-related field–plus training programs lasting anywhere between one year up through 14 months. This amounts to both thousands of hours of schooling paired with a rigorous 1,000+ hour on-the job training program.
All mid-level providers must hold a license or certification
A mid-level practitioner is a person who has completed classroom & clinical experience in their field. Oftentimes, PA’s and RN’s will come from a background in medicine and begin mid-level education & certification in order to advance their responsibilities of care. All mid-level providers must hold a license or certification after completing these requirements.
In order to qualify for licensure, you must have an appropriate degree from an accredited educational institution, as well as at least 2 years of supervised clinical experience following graduation. In some cases, states may require additional coursework or other qualifications before granting you your license.
Newburyport Family Practices uses both physicians and mid-level providers to ensure your care needs are met. In our practice, a licensed physician oversees the care provided by mid-levels to ensure a high standard of care is given to each and every patient.