Types of health care providers


This article describes health care providers involved in primary care, nursing care, and specialty care.



A primary care provider (PCP) is a person you may see first for checkups and health problems. PCPs can help manage your overall health. If you have a health care plan, find out what type of practitioner can serve as your PCP.


Advanced practice nurses include nurse practitioners (NPs) and the following:


Licensed pharmacists have graduate training from a college of pharmacy.

Your pharmacist prepares and processes drug prescriptions that were written by your primary or specialty care provider. Pharmacists provide information to people about medicines. They also consult with providers about dosages, interactions, and side effects of medicines.

Your pharmacist may also follow your progress to check that you are using your medicine safely and effectively.

Pharmacists also can evaluate your health and prescribe medicines.


Your primary care provider may refer you to professionals in various specialties when necessary, such as:

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants may also provide care in association with most types of specialists.

Review Date: 6/28/2018
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 01/24/2019.

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