Nurse Practitioners offer a different approach to primary care

Published 01/31/2018

Healthcare consumers who are looking for a primary care provider have a choice – see a physician or a certified nurse practitioner. South County Health has both on its medical staff, giving consumers more choices and greater accessibility to primary care.

Certified nurse practitioners, Jennifer Avedisian, RNP and Mary Joyal, FNP-C, are among the board certified nurse practitioners on the South County Health medical staff. They provide primary care in internal medicine and family medicine at the South County Health Medical & Wellness Center in East Greenwich.

As a primary care provider, what is the fundamental difference between a physician and a nurse practitioner?

Nurse practitioners and physicians are educated through different models - the nursing model and the medical model. These complement each other because we may have slightly different ways of seeing an illness or situation, which can be helpful in collaborating and giving our patients the best possible treatments.

Can nurse practitioners offer healthcare services without being part of a physician’s practice?

In some states nurse practitioners are able to practice independently without a supervising physician and Rhode Island is one of those states.

What can a patient expect when they see a nurse practitioner, rather than a physician for their annual check-ups?

When we see a patient for an annual check-up we go through the same procedures and routines that a primary care physician would. We review and update family, social, and past medical history, review current medical issues and concerns, order necessary bloodwork and imaging, and make sure patients are up-to-date on vaccines and cancer screening tests.

If a patient can’t get an appointment with a primary care physician, can a physician’s office refer them to a nurse practitioner for their primary care?

Yes! In our current climate of ever-changing healthcare, there is increasing demand for primary care services and a shortage of primary care providers. Nurse practitioners help to offset this shortage by offering high-quality, cost-effective, patient-centered health care.

Are visits to a nurse practitioner covered by health insurance?

Yes, we are covered by health insurance. Some plans require a physician’s name to be listed as the “primary care doctor,” but our services are billable and recognized by insurance companies.

How do you ensure that the patients you care for receive a high level of care and an exceptional patient experience? 

Our goal is to make sure we are giving our patients the best possible treatments and health guidance, and that you are happy with the care you receive from us. We are always checking for new medical guidelines and attending continuing education classes to make sure that we are up-to-date on new medications and treatments. We work in collaboration with specialists to make sure patients receive proper treatment for any chronic medical issues. The health of our patients is our primary concern. We are always available to discuss any questions or concerns patients have about their health, medical tests, diagnoses or treatments that they have.

Jennifer Avedisian, RNP, and Mary Joyal, FNP-C, are accepting new patients at their offices located at the South County Health Medical & Wellness Center in East Greenwich, 3461 South County Trail (next to Tarbox Motors). For an appointment, call 401-471-6760.