Healthcare Providers You Might See at Your Next Appointment

an advanced practice provider greeting a patient

Whether you aim to stay healthy, start a family, or manage a chronic disease, your care is a collaborative effort of experienced healthcare professionals. In addition to doctors, other advanced practice providers (APPs) may play key roles in your health, including:

• Nurse practitioners (NPs)
• Physician assistants (PAs)
• Certified nurse midwives (CNMs)

Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide primary, urgent, and specialty care, including preventive health care, disease management, injury treatment, and pre- and postnatal care. You may see these experts instead of a medical doctor for your primary care. You can also request an NP or PA as your primary care provider at many offices.

In addition to providing primary care, NPs and PAs can be trained and certified to provide specialized care. For example, you may see an NP or a PA in an orthopedics office for pre- or post-surgery care and injury treatment. NPs and PAs work in many specialized offices, including gastroenterology, cardiology, surgery, urology, urgent care, gynecology, general surgery, and other areas.

Midwives Provide Women-Centered Care

Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) provide a full range of women’s healthcare services for adolescents through adults, including diag- nosing and managing diseases and infertility. They focus on caring for women holistically and educating them about their health.

Midwives provide expert care in these areas:
• Gynecologic exams
• Family planning
• Preconception counseling
• Prenatal care
• Labor and delivery
• Postpartum care
• Menopause management
• Wellness education

Nurse practitioners also offer many of these services, however NPs do not work in labor and delivery.

Experienced Healthcare Providers

Advanced practice providers earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees and have extensive hands-on experience. They complete advanced training in patient care and need to pass exams and earn licenses and certifications to care for patients. APPs also stay up-to-date on the latest approaches to care with ongoing medical education.

Provider Type

What They Can Do

Nurse practitioner (NP)

Provide primary or specialty care. NPs diagnose and manage diseases, prescribe medications, provide health education, perform procedures, and refer patients to other members of the healthcare team as needed.

Physician assistant (PA)

Conduct physicals and exams, provide treatment, perform some procedures, and prescribe medications. PAs work alongside doctors or independently and may also assist surgeons in the operating room.

Certified nurse-midwife (CNM)

Provide the full range of women’s healthcare services, including preconception, prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care, along with family planning and menopause management.

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  • Click here to listen to podcasts with advanced practice providers, including midwives