5 reasons you want a nurse practitioner on your care team

These highly qualified medical professionals can diagnose conditions, help you manage chronic illnesses and more

Stacey Colino
Nurse practitioner with stethoscope

Sometimes people pass up the opportunity to schedule a visit with a nurse practitioner, either at a provider’s office or at home. Usually that’s based on the mistaken belief that the care isn’t as good as what a medical doctor can offer. Nurse practitioners provide many of the same medical services that primary care providers (PCPs) do. Plus, they offer unique benefits and important care. 

Nurse practitioners complete 6 to 8 years of education and training. It’s rigorous and enhanced by their on-the-job experience. To become a nurse practitioner, someone must:

  • Have a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN) 
  • Be a state-licensed registered nurse (RN) 
  • Have completed a master’s or doctoral program for nurse practitioners 
  • Have national board certification

Plus, to stay up to date with the care they provide, nurse practitioners have continuing education requirements. Those include frequent training sessions and courses to keep them informed about the latest medications and health recommendations. 

A nurse practitioner can be an important part of your care team. And when you see one during a UnitedHealthcare® Housecalls in-home visit, they provide an extra layer of care in between your regular PCP appointments. (To see if your plan includes HouseCalls* and to schedule your in-home visit today, click here or call 1-800-934-0280, TTY 711, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET or 5 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT.)

Here are 5 reasons you’ll want to have a HouseCalls nurse practitioner on your side:  

They place a premium on time and communication. “Nurse practitioners are nurses first. Nurses are very compassionate people and have medical expertise,” explains Stephony Robinson, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC. She’s a nurse practitioner and director of clinical operations for HouseCalls, a service that’s part of many UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Advantage plans. “We are trained to listen, and we try to help patients feel empowered over their health.”  

In fact, UnitedHealthcare® HouseCalls has a team of more than 2,600 nurse practitioners (as well as physician assistants and medical doctors) who visit members in their homes for annual check-in care. During a HouseCalls visit, patients get to spend as much as an hour of 1-on-1 time with their practitioner, talking through all their questions and concerns.

Unlike an in-office visit to a provider, which lasts, on average, less than 20 minutes, there’s no need to rush when you see a practitioner in your home.

They give you a comprehensive exam. Because of the extra time they spend with you and their focus on overall wellness, nurse practitioners will discuss changes you may be experiencing from head to toe. That includes every part of your body, from your brain function and mood to respiratory, cardiac and digestive issues and more. They can also review and provide education about your medications. 

They can perform a range of screenings and tests. A nurse practitioner can test you for signs of colon cancer, diabetes and prediabetes, poor circulation, atrial fibrillation and kidney disease. They can also assess your risk for depression or falling. Plus, they check your height, weight and body mass index (BMI), as well as your blood pressure, heart and feet. Learn more about HouseCalls screenings and assessments here.

They can help you get more out of an appointment with a PCP. A nurse practitioner’s goal isn’t to replace your PCP, but rather to support those visits. They can help you zero in on subjects to talk to your regular provider about and give you tips to help you do it more effectively. “Sometimes it’s hard to know what to discuss with a primary care physician. We try to help prepare patients with questions and concerns to address with their provider,” Robinson says.  

They can educate and guide you to take charge of your health. “Because we get a whole view of a patient from a wellness perspective, our nurse practitioners can provide you with referrals and connect you with resources that will help you get your needs met,” Robinson says. 

During a HouseCalls visit, for example, a nurse practitioner will often leave behind educational materials that may help you better understand a health condition you have. Or the information may help you perform activities of daily living more safely and comfortably. 

If you’d like to learn more about how HouseCalls practitioners can become a part of your care team, download “The essential guide to your in-home checkup” now. 

Get an in-home visit with HouseCalls

Annual check-in care is free with eligible plans, and it includes screening tests for diabetes, nerve problems, heart disease and more. All the results are shared with you and your PCP, along with any important information or referrals you might need. 

To see if your plan includes HouseCalls and to schedule your in-home visit today, call 1-800-934-0280, TTY 711 or click here

*HouseCalls may not be available with all plans or in all areas.