Nurse practioner enjoys ‘the whole experience’
Deidre Coffey’s introduction into the world of medicine came at the age of 15 when she took a job at Miller’s Merry Manor in her hometown of Culver.
“My first job was at the Swirly Top Ice Cream until it burned down,” she said. “It was easy for a high school kid to get a part time job from 4 to 8 (p.m.) at Miller’s.”
The time she spent there left an impression on her that she carries with her today as a Nurse Practitioner for the last few months at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center’s Bremen Family Medicine.
“As I went through school, I found that I always wanted to be in a family practice like this with a focus on Geriatrics,” Coffey said. “Sometimes the elderly can be a big challenge because of the many medications they are prescribed. But that makes it all very interesting and they seem very comfortable with me.”
Making patients fell comfortable is one of the many functions of a Nurse Practitioner (NP). An NP is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who has completed graduate-level training. All NPs are Registered Nurses who have completed extensive additional education and training and have a dramatically expanded scope of practice. The role of the NP is very diverse. NPs are educated under the nursing model which is designed to provide holistic and preventive care engaging the individual as the primary leader in their own care and well-being.
They treat both physical and mental conditions through comprehensive history taking, physical exams, ordering, and interpreting diagnostic tests. NPs can then diagnose the disease and then provide appropriate treatment for the patients, including prescribing medications. NPs can also serve as a patient’s primary health care provider and see patients of all ages.
“We had a week just like that last week where one patient was a three-year-old and the next one was nearly 100,” Coffey said. “It keeps you on your toes because what is bothering a 70-year-old and how you interact is much different than with a 10-year-old. It’s the whole experience that I really enjoy.”
The experience is working well with Coffey’s co-workers since she has joined the staff at Bremen Family Medicine.
“Having a Nurse Practitioner here is really the best of both worlds,” said Dr. Robert Kolbe of Bremen Family Medicine. “You get the nursing perspective and the holistic, preventative look with some of the training doctors have. It’s a nice overlap where we each bring our own perspective to the table – two different minds finding what is best for the patient.”