The cancer care team: Nurse practitioner

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Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have additional formal education. Find out how a nurse practitioner is different from a nurse and what they can do to help you during your treatment.

Key points

  • Nurse practitioners are able to order and interpret tests, assess patients, tell you your diagnosis, prescribe medications and perform certain procedures.
  • Nurse practitioners can provide care at any point of your cancer journey and help to make your treatment plan.

What is a nurse practitioner?

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has received additional formal education. Because of this, they are able to assess patients, order and interpret test results, communicate diagnoses to patients, prescribe medications and perform specific procedures.

What does a nurse practitioner do?

A nurse practitioner provides nursing care and does much of the same work as a doctor. For example, you might see one for your physical check-ups.

They work closely with you and the rest of your health-care team to help make a treatment plan that works for you and your family. They can also help you connect with other health-care professionals you might need to see.

Nurse practitioners can provide care at any time during the cancer treatment journey—from prevention and diagnosis, to treatment and supportive care, to recovery and palliative care.

Not all cancer centres have nurse practitioners on the treatment team.

Last updated: September 3rd 2019