Rochester, MN (KTTC-TV) --
You may not know it, but the person you see at the doctor's office may be a nurse practitioner and not a physician. Both jobs can appear similar to a patient, but sometimes a nurse practitioner's help can be strikingly different.
A nurse practitioner's level is in between a nurse and a physician. In fact, many times a patient won't even need to see a physician. But while doctor's visits can sometimes be in-and-out as fast as possible, the nurse practitioner we spoke to says their job is to take their time with patients and make them feel comfortable.
Molly and Kyle Larson are expecting their first child, in 36 more days, to be exact. Their primary OB/GYN so far has been Kerry Stoick, a nurse practitioner for the OB/GYN at Olmsted Medical Center.
"With Kerry Stoick, I had noticed that she's just so friendly. So, she made coming to my appointments Fun," says Molly.
"We do spend more face-to-face time and personal time with the patients, so that they're not just a number that comes in for 10 minutes and in-and-out. People really feel like they get to know their nurse practitioner," explains Stoick.
The Larsons will begin to see an obstetrician soon since they are nearing the delivery date, but they say, if it wasn't for Stoick, they would not have known that Molly had Thyroid cancer.
"People who specialize in your nose and throat, they had felt around there, specifically knowing where it was and they couldn't really feel it," exclaims Molly. "And they knew that it was there. So I was really, really luck that she was the one that felt it."
Stoick says a Nurse Practitioner must obtain their RN license and normally work as a nurse for a few years. Then, they go back to school and get clinical training to get their nurse practitioner's license.
She says to see a nurse practitioners instead of a doctor can save you about 2/3rd of the visit's cost. Stoick says in the coming years, practitioners will play a big role in health care.
"As the population ages, and there's so much with medical care and health care that's changing, people are going to see nurse practitioners more that they're seeing them now even."
Stoick says there are 4 practitioners in the OB/GYN section of Olmsted Medical Center, and roughly 1,700 total at the Mayo Clinic.
November 9th through the 15th is National Nurse Practitioners Week. There will be several events to show appreciation to practitioners.
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