November 13, 2018

From a Nurse in the ED to a Nurse Practitioner in Primary Care

defining the role of a nurse practitioner

By Beverly Ramey, Nurse Practitioner

I was a registered nurse in the emergency department for several years, and am now trying to transition from taking direction to giving direction as a newly hired nurse practitioner (NP) in the primary care setting. What exactly is a nurse practitioner and what do we do?

An NP is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. Coming from the nursing side of medicine, I believe nurse practitioners are especially caring by nature and bring that experience to the role of an NP. We are required to have a degree in nursing before beginning our graduate studies and, until recently, you had to work for a year before beginning graduate school. So every NP has been at the bedside for some time, regardless of what department, discipline or specialty we come from.

There has been a significant shortage of providers across the board for years, specifically in western North Carolina and even north Georgia. NPs are a great addition to the health community – we can assess patients, diagnose and treat diseases as well as monitor chronic illnesses. NPs manage medications with adjustments and refills, as well as ordering lab work and radiology.

NPs are an important part of the healthcare system. We help fill the gap in the patient to provider ratio and hopefully lessen the burden of underserved populations and communities. We are a relief to many providers who are overbooked, trying to see as many patients as possible on their time as they fit their doctor’s visits into their busy schedules.

So far, I love being a nurse practitioner – I learn new things every day. In the ever-changing healthcare environment, we need more NPs in our clinics and hospitals. I invite my fellow nursing colleagues and advanced practitioners to learn more about advancing your nursing career at Mission Health!


Beverly Ramey, RN, NP, is a Nurse Practitioner at Mission Community Primary Care – Highlands.

Learn more about growing your nursing career at Mission Health and continuing education opportunities at missionhealth.org/for-nurses.