You have surely heard the words “doctor”, “nurse”, “physician”, and “nurse practitioner”, but what exactly are the differences between all of these terms? You usually say you need to go to the doctor, but read on to see why going to the nurse practitioner might be even better. A nurse practitioner is a skilled medical professional who truly has your best health in mind. At American Health Specialist we have nurse practitioners who are ready to help you with any medical issues you may have—schedule an appointment with us today!

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse, but they go further than the traditional RN with advanced education, certification and skills training. Unlike RNs, a nurse practitioner is licensed to practice independently, and can diagnose patients, prescribe treatments and medications, and be in control of a patient’s overall care. Nurse practitioners can be found in a number of health care settings, including family practices, and can be skilled in gerontology, neonatology, oncology, pediatrics, women’s care and mental health. American Health Specialist in Flint, Michigan is a dedicated staff of nurse practitioners who can take care of all of your diagnostic health care needs. So why would you choose a nurse practitioner?

Holistic Focus

Nurse practitioners are able to diagnose and treat illnesses, but their main focus is on disease prevention. They are committed to listening to the details of your lifestyle, including diet and exercise, and will be able to advise you on healthy lifestyle solutions. Nurse practitioners are committed to looking at the whole person, and identifying the root of any illnesses or complications. Doctors are sometimes focused more on the cure, and a nurse practitioner is trained to listen and really get to the bottom of a patient’s medical concerns. A nurse practitioner wants to work with you to make the best decisions regarding your health.

Fill the Gap

There is a shortage of primary care physicians in our country, and nurse practitioners are stepping up to fill in the gap. A doctor is almost always seen in a hospital or clinical setting, but nurse practitioners can be found visiting housebound patients, or in rural areas where there are no doctors. Because nurse practitioners are not doctors, they can be a more cost-effective and patient-centered option to traditional healthcare. Patients who have a nurse practitioner as their primary care provider have fewer emergency room visits and shorter hospital stays on average, which can result in lowered out of pocket costs.


Most insurers do not specify whether someone’s primary care provider is a doctor or a nurse practitioner. In most cases, you are free to pick either a doctor or a nurse practitioner for your care, and insurance will bill them the same. If you are wondering about your own insurance, call American Health Specialist and we will help you figure it out.

Independence and Collaboration

While nurse practitioners can provide care without a doctor, they oftentimes collaborate with doctors and want to partner with any physician who can contribute to the health of their patients. If a nurse practitioner (just like a doctor) encounters a situation they are unfamiliar with they can seek the advice of someone more skilled in the area in question. Nurse practitioners can make referrals when a diagnosis is not clear, or when the patient requires a higher level of care. While they can seek the help of other medical professionals, nurse practitioners are also completely able to practice independently. Nurse practitioners are committed to pursuing the best medical care for their patients.

What They Can Do

So when you see a nurse practitioner you can expect the same kind of care you would imagine a doctor would offer. Nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat illnesses, perform physical exams, manage chronic illnesses, prescribe medications, provide immunizations, order and read diagnostic medical imaging tests (such as x-rays), prescribe rehabilitation therapy, perform biopsy, and give excellent advice and access to further education opportunities for patients to make informed health decisions. A nurse practitioner can often take more time than a doctor to address your concerns, and really dig in to your medical history. A nurse practitioner will strive to be compassionate and caring and truly try to help their patients.

Because of a shortage of primary health care services, nurse practitioners have stepped up all over the country to fill the needs of their patients. Nurse practitioners are the fastest growing group of primary care providers, and there are more than 220,000 nurse practitioners in the U.S., and that number is still growing! If you are looking for a healthcare provider that truly cares, a nurse practitioner is a great choice. Studies have not only shown lower incidence of hospital stays and emergency room visits when utilizing nurse practitioners, but also higher patient satisfaction. Your nurse practitioner will approach you as an individual, and will look at not only your symptoms but your lifestyle. Things sometimes overlooked by doctors, such as hindrances to sleep or poor diet choices, will be the things that a nurse practitioner looks for and attempts to solve. If you are in the Flint area and looking for a primary care provider who will truly care, call American Health Specialist for an appointment today. We are proud to be nurse practitioners that will take care of the whole person, not just focus on the symptoms. We would love to serve you today!