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What is a Physician Extender?

Physician extenders (PE) is a health care provider who is not a physician but who performs medical activities typically performed by a physician.  It is most commonly a nurse practitioner or physician assistant.

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) or Nurse practitioner (NP) are registered nurses (RN) who are prepared, through advanced education and clinical training, to provide a wide range of preventive and acute health care services to individuals of all ages.  NPs complete graduate-level education preparation that leads to a master’s degree. NPs take health histories and provide complete physical examinations; diagnose and treat many common acute and chronic problems; interpret laboratory results and X-rays; prescribe and manage medications and other therapies; provide health teaching and supportive counseling with an emphasis on prevention of illness and health maintenance; and refer patients to other health professionals as needed.

Physician Assistant (PA)

Physician assistants (PA) are health care professionals licensed, or in the case of those employed by the federal government they are credentialed, to practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions. Within the physician-PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. A PA’s practice may also include education, research, and administrative services.