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Nurse practitioners play important role in healthcare

(Karen Fenstermacher has been a family nurse practitioner for 21 years)

"Just getting to see the patients. It is a blessing to be able to help people and just interaction with them. It just makes it a fun job," explained family nurse practitioner Karen Fenstermacher.

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While nurse practitioners can't do everything a doctor is trained for, they can see patients and diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication, and perform minor procedures.

"I don't do everything doctors do, but I see people sick with a cold, pneumonia or chronic illnesses like diabetes or high blood pressure," said Fenstermacher.

This allows health centers to treat more patients while not stressing about having enough doctors. To become a nurse practitioner, you must be a registered nurse and then train for two additional years.

"You do a general nurse practitioner course. There's a family general course, an adult nurse practitioner course or pediatric nurse partner, but beyond that, the special is just whoever you are working with," Fenstermacher explained.

N.P.'s see patients from newborns to people in their 90s. But, being a family nurse practitioner isn't the only thing Fenstermacher enjoys doing. And for the past 17 years, she has traveled to Jamaica on a medical mission trip every year.

"I just feel like God has told me to do that and it is such a blessing to go. The people we see thank us and tells us how blessed they feel that we've come," said Fenstermacher.

Members who work with Fenstermacher say it's her love for helping patients that make her a joy to be around with.

"Her compassion--she cares for her patients. She takes time with her patients and every time a patient comes out of her room, they always acknowledge that," said co-worker Karrie Jackson.

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