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3375 Lake Ridge Dr, Dubuque, IA 52003

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8:00 AM - 12:00 PM



Ask our Healthcare Professionals...

MD When should I see a doctor vs a nurse practitioner?

Great question, there can be a lot of confusion between the different professionals seen in primary care settings especially among medical doctors and nurse practitioners. Health care is complex and finding the right health care provider can be challenging. The first nurse practitioner program was developed in 1965 to combat the lack of primary care medical doctors, especially for children in the United States. Nurse practitioners are nurses by background and have their bachelor’s degree, years of experience in the nursing field, and a graduate degree with clinical training at the master or doctoral level to become advanced practice nurses. Nurse practitioners in Iowa have full practice rights which means they can function independently and can assess, diagnose, and treat patients with medication and therapies. The majority of nurse practitioners work in primary care settings and increase access to affordable and comprehensive health care. 


Research has shown that nurse practitioners provide quality care with high patient satisfaction rates, spend more time face-to-face with patients, and work collaboratively with other health care providers. Nurse practitioners tend to use their background as nurses by incorporating patient education and advocacy to focus on the whole person. Many provide services that concentrate on patients’ mental and physical well-being using preventative and holistic care. When choosing a health care provider whether a medical doctor or nurse practitioner, it is important to find someone you as a patient can be comfortable with in order to work together to optimize your health. 


~Dr. Jamie Hammerand, DNP

*Ask Our Healthcare Professionals is a weekly opportunity to ask our team any question you have. Answers are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or dysfunction and are intended for general informational purposes only. Submit your questions by email to, and feel free to leave out any identifying information if you prefer!

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