Confused About What Nurse Practitioners Do? Get the Facts Here

I need to set the record straight about your piece on nurse practitioners. It is just wrong.
Speak Up, Please | posted by Sandra Boebel, MSN, PMHNP-BC
Nurse Practitioners Can Diagnose and Treat Adult ADHD

I am a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner who works with adults in both private practice and at a busy mental health clinic. I was disappointed and a bit offended by the article “Who Can Diagnose ADHD?” As a nurse practitioner, not only did I learn the pathophysiology and psychopharmacological and other treatments for ADHD in graduate school at the University of Rochester, but, like any other specialists, I continue to educate myself on the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.

So I was surprised by the way you portrayed advanced practiced nurse practitioners (NPs) in your article. We have a different role than registered nurses (RNs). Here are some facts:

> NPs do not work under the supervision of a general practitioner. We are specialists who collaborate, if necessary, with a physician in our area of specialty. NPs have different areas of specialty, including psychiatry.

> NPs with a specialty in psychiatry can evaluate, diagnose, and treat adults with ADHD (and other mental conditions), and, if trained, children as well. We can prescribe medication.

> NPs offer counseling. Many NP psychiatry programs have counseling as part of their training. All psychiatric NPs are trained in psychotherapy and psychological theories. We are trained therapists.

> Studies have shown that patients of psychiatric NPs are very satisfied with their care. All nurses—RNs and NPs—are trained to be empathetic, compassionate, and to educate their patients.

When I work with adults diagnosed with ADHD, I explain the pathophysiology of the condition and how medications work, and I suggest other evidenced-based treatments, such as mindfulness skills and more. I use rating scales to help diagnose patients, and I am proficient in working with adults with ADHD.

My advice for finding a clinician to diagnose someone with ADHD, or any other condition, is to ask the clinician what experience and knowledge she has about the condition.

Nurse practitioners care. Some of us even have ADHD and understand your challenges firsthand. I look forward to another article on your website that educates the public about board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioners.

Sandra Boebel, MSN, PMHNP-BC, is a psychiatric nurse practitioner practicing in Canandaigua, New York.

 
 
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