Frequently Asked Question
What is a Nurse Practitioner?
By Nancy Van Alstine, RN, MSN, APN-BC, AOCNP, APNP
You may have seen a Nurse practitioner (NP) when you came for your visit at Fox Valley Hematology and Oncology, S.C. (FVHO). Many patients are unfamiliar with what a NP is and think that we are physicians. So what is an NP and what do we do?
AT FVHO NP’s work collaboratively with the physicians to care for the patients who come to the office to insure that all patients get the best care possible. What is our specific role at FVHO? We see patients who are getting chemotherapy and manage their side effects, patients that are acutely ill and need to be seen ASAP, patients that are being seen in follow up to their prior cancers and new patients to the office. We also play a role in education for the staff when necessary and help formulate policies for the office.
What kind of education do NP’s have? We are bachelorette prepared registered nurses first and foremost, so we have a nursing background which enables us to care for patients and anticipate their needs. Secondly, we have a Masters degree which is an advanced degree in nursing that teaches us nursing theory, advanced clinical and assessment skills, and decision making skills. All of us also have “APNP” behind our names which stands for Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber. This means that we have taken a certification test from the state to be able to prescribe medications. Some of us also have other certifications such as OCN (Oncology Certified Nurse) and AOCNP (Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner). These are separate certifications that we have studied for and passed a national exam. This means that we have extra training in oncology and to maintain these certifications we are required to have so many hours of continuing education in oncology over 4 years.
As NP’s we are prepared to assess patients physical and emotional needs and treat their medical problems. At FVHO we work closely with our physicians to collaborate on each and every patient so that we can provide the best care possible. We are proud of our role at FVHO and hope that every patient can now understand just who we are and what we do to make them feel comfortable in seeing us for their visits. We hope that they can see what an important role we play in their care and how privileged we are to participate in their journey through cancer.