At the Urgent Care Center of Folsom, you may be seen by a Nurse Practitioner (NP) or Physician Assistant (PA) who is working with the Physician. These are the Urgent Care Center’s Physician Extenders. Physician Assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine in collaboration with the Physician. Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses with advanced training. Both Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners do many of the things the doctor can, including prescribing medications, performing physical examinations, and treating most common illnesses and injuries.
Physician Assistants train in intensive programs that follow the same medical education model of most medical schools. These programs are accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). To receive national certification, graduates of physician assistant programs take an examination developed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and the National Board of Medical Examiners. In addition, Physician Assistants must participate in rigorous continuing medical education and recertification processes throughout their career.
Nurse Practitioners are also highly trained and experienced medical providers. To become a Nurse Practitioner, a qualified, experienced registered nurse must also complete an accredited master of science in nursing (MSN) program. After completing an intensive two year program, candidates must pass an exhaustive national certification examination. And, even after achieving certification, Nurse Practitioners must participate in continuing education and practice to maintain their status (as regulated by a national certification organization).
Both Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners are qualified to:
- Diagnose and treat common illnesses and injuries
- Obtain medical histories
- Perform physical examinations and assessments
- Perform and interpret diagnostic and laboratory studies
- Prescribe medication and other treatment modalities
- Evaluate and refer patients to specialists
- Counsel and teach health and nutrition
- Provide education to allow patients to make appropriate decisions about their own health care