Richland, Wash. –
Most people get the holidays off however, healthcare workers are still working.
According to a report from the University of Washington, there are more than 6,500 nurse practitioners in the state of Washington.
April Valdez is a nurse practitioner at Inland Cardiology at Kadlec Regional Medical Center a field of interest she’s grown to love over the years working as a nurse.
She says ” I love cardiology, it was something that I was interested in from the beginning of nursing school. I was fortunate enough to work in the intermediate care unit at the hospital, which was considered a step-down unit for cardiovascular patients and open-heart surgery patients. So it really just developed my continued knowledge base and expertise and enjoyment of that specialty.”
Valdez has been a nurse for 20 years and for eight of those years she has been an ARNP.
Valdez got her nursing license locally here in the Tri-Cities. She graduated from Columbia Basin College with her associate’s degree in nursing, eventually attending WSU Tri-Cities for her master’s degree.
Valdez took it a step further and completed her Nurse Practitioner degree from a university in Boston.
A nurse practitioner is similar to a physician whereas, they are responsible for providing urgent, primary, and specialty care to their patients.
Depending on the state you live in an ARNP can provide care without a physician’s approval.
Washington is a full ARNP-practicing state.
Valdez says there is a difference between being a physician and being an ARNP.
Valdez says “So they go through medical school, fellowships, and residencies, but for nurse practitioners is the long term experience and the specialty training as far as the masters level clinical goes is focused on providing care clinically to patients.”
Valdez goes on to tell me that at Kadlec they have about 400 physicians and about 150 ARNPs and physician assistants working along side each other.