We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Primary Care Nurse?

By D. Jeffress
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A primary care nurse is a licensed health care professional who provides direct care to patients with all different types of illnesses and ailments. People often seek the guidance of primary care doctors and nurses to diagnose their symptoms, offer direct medical services when possible, and refer them to specialists for further treatment. Some nurses work in general hospitals and doctor's offices, though many professionals specialize in a hospital or clinic with a certain population of patients, such as the elderly, women, or people with mental health issues.

Often the first medical professional a new patient encounters, a primary care nurse welcomes the patient, asks about his or her medical history, and conducts an initial clinical evaluation. The nurse often relays the information gathered in interviews to a primary care physician, and assists the doctor in performing more intensive physical exams and screenings. Once a patient's illness or injury is identified, the primary care nurse is responsible for explaining the diagnosis and available treatment options.

In many cases, primary care physicians and nurses can provide immediate medical care for a patient. Nurses usually have extensive knowledge of a wide range of injuries and illnesses. They are fully trained to treat common ailments, such as broken limbs, swelling, burns, and cases of hypertension, among many other syndromes. After treatment, a nurse might monitor the patient to ensure his or her condition and explain how he or she can prevent future problems. An individual with a severe medical condition, such as a heart condition or cancer, is often referred to a particular facility or specialist to provide acute care.

To become a primary care nurse, a person must typically receive a master's degree from an accredited university or nursing school. He or she is usually required to complete one to two years of supervised nursing services in an emergency room or critical care center. New nurses must pass rigorous written and practical examinations administered by a nationally recognized nursing organization. Some hospitals and doctors' offices require individuals to obtain additional nurse practitioner certification before working independently.

A primary care nurse who works in a doctor's office or primary care clinic typically works during regular business hours, either part- or full-time. Nurses employed by hospitals may be required to work day, swing, or overnight shifts to accommodate patients' needs. Overtime hours and on-call shifts are common for hospital nurses, who may be required to address emergency situations and lengthy medical procedures.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By chivebasil — On Mar 14, 2012

@backdraft - I could not agree more and it is nice to hear someone speaking up for nurses. There are so many nurses in this country doing so much good work but we often get ignored or degraded. People think that we are just ladies in funny shirts who hand out band-aids and fill up water cups. That could not be further from reality.

I have been a nurse for almost 20 years and it has been both rewarding and heartbreaking. Rewarding because you do good work every day and make meaningful connections with the people you meet and serve. But it's also been heartbreaking because you have to deal with death, injury, pain, and gore to degrees you would have never imagined in nursing school.

By backdraft — On Mar 13, 2012

Primary care nurses are really on the front lines of the health care industry. They have to deal with more of the stress, strain and mess of medicine than any doctor does. They also have to provide a level of care and sympathy to patients that can rival that shown by relatives. They are the unsung heroes of our hospitals and clinics.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.