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Author: Sarah Sentz, Nurse Practictoner at the Arlene Cooper Community Health Center

Have you ever wondered what it means if your medical provider is a Nurse Practitioner (NP)? Let’s explore who Nurse Practitioners are, their training, and what they can do for you.

Who Are Nurse Practitioners?

A Nurse Practitioner (NP), also known as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), is a highly skilled healthcare professional who can serve as your primary care provider, acute care provider, or specialist. NPs work in various healthcare settings, not only across the United States but also around the world. They play a crucial role in delivering quality healthcare to patients.

The Educational Journey of a Nurse Practitioner

Becoming a Nurse Practitioner requires extensive education and training. First, an individual must become a Registered Nurse (RN). Afterward, they must complete a master's or doctoral degree in nursing, which includes both rigorous coursework and hands-on residency experience. This advanced training equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to provide high-quality care. Once their education is complete, NPs must pass a national certification exam to obtain their state license.

What Can Nurse Practitioners Do?

Nurse Practitioners are versatile healthcare providers with a wide range of capabilities, including:

  • Assessing Patients: NPs can evaluate your health through exams and medical histories.
  • Diagnosing and Treating Conditions: They are trained to diagnose and treat both acute (sudden) and chronic (long-term) illnesses.
  • Prescribing Medications: NPs can prescribe medications to manage your health conditions.
  • Ordering and Interpreting Tests: They can order lab tests, imaging, and other diagnostic procedures and interpret the results.
  • Providing Education: NPs educate patients about their health, medications, and lifestyle changes to promote well-being.
  • Managing Overall Care: They coordinate comprehensive care plans to ensure patients receive the best possible treatment.

In many states, including Nevada, NPs can practice independently without needing a supervising physician. This means they have the authority to provide many of the same services as primary care physicians, making them an integral part of the healthcare system.

The Growing Field of Nurse Practitioners

The number of Nurse Practitioners in the United States is growing rapidly. There are currently about 385,000 NPs nationwide, and approximately 70% of them deliver primary care. So, there’s a good chance that your primary care provider could be a Nurse Practitioner!

Quality Care from Nurse Practitioners

Research has consistently shown that Nurse Practitioners provide high-quality care, increase patient satisfaction, and help reduce healthcare costs. Patients appreciate the personalized attention and comprehensive care that NPs offer.

In conclusion, Nurse Practitioners are highly educated and skilled healthcare providers who can offer a wide range of services. Whether you need primary care, acute care, or specialized treatment, an NP is equipped to meet your healthcare needs with expertise and compassion.

New Wellness Clinic Now Open

The Center is excited to announce that we have expanded to meet all of your healthcare needs! In addition to our long-standing Arlene Cooper Community Health Center, we now offer services at a second Primary Care location at 921 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Second Floor.

Our comprehensive services include:

• Gender-affirming care
• Primary care
• HIV Services
• STI Testing & Treatment
• Family Planning
• Contraception

And more!

Click here to learn more book your appointment today.

We are dedicated to providing inclusive, compassionate, and high-quality healthcare services to the entire Las Vegas community. Our mission is to ensure every individual receives the care they need in a welcoming and affirming environment.

About the Author

Sarah Sentz, Nurse Practitioner at the Arlene Cooper Community Health Center, brings a wealth of experience to our team, with over twenty years in the healthcare sector. Since earning her graduate degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) in 2017, she has honed her skills in various clinical environments, building upon a solid foundation as a Registered Nurse (RN).

Her professional journey reflects a deep-seated expertise in family practice, with a particular emphasis on reproductive and sexual health medicine. She is passionately committed to community health, offering a spectrum of services that includes primary HIV treatment and prevention, comprehensive reproductive/gynecologic care, and the administration of long-acting reversible contraceptives like IUDs and implants. Additionally, Sarah provides gender-affirming and hormone therapy care, approaching each patient with a holistic mindset that focuses on treating the whole individual, not just the symptoms.

When she’s not at the clinic, Sarah's adventurous spirit leads her on hiking escapades with her husband, often recounted as joyful misadventures. She finds solace in the pages of science fiction novels while swaying in a hammock, and at home, she enjoys the delightful chaos of caring for her quirky felines, Artemis and Andromeda.


  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), 2024.
  • Htay, M. & Whitehead, D. (2021). "The effectiveness of the role of advanced nurse practitioners compared to physician-led or usual care: A systematic review." International Journal of Nursing Studies Advances.
  • Feeney, A., 2024. "Nurse Practitioner Practice Authority: A State-by-State Guide" |