Nurse Practitioner Week raises awareness of mysterious medics

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Nurse practitioner: It's a profession that most have probably heard of, but perhaps one that folks don't exactly know much about.

The week of Nov. 11-17 is National Nurse Practitioner Week, and with a national health care provider shortage, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, in a recent press release, spoke to the aim and importance of NPs.

"NPs are licensed, expert clinicians with advanced education (most have master's and many have doctorate degrees) and extensive clinical training who provide primary, acute and specialty healthcare services," the release says. "In addition to providing a full range of services, NPs work as partners with their patients, guiding them to make educated healthcare decisions and healthy lifestyle choices."

Starting to make sense, but still a bit confusing? Three local Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners associated with Punxsutawney Area Hospital — Darlene Brink, Don Pallone and Mike Kacsmar — sat down last week to discuss their training and their practices in light of National Nurse Practitioner Week. Don started by giving his own description of the difference between NPs and other medical staff after describing his path that led him to seek the degree.

For the full article, see Thursday's print edition of The Spirit.