Harvard Women's Health Watch

Why isn’t my doctor seeing me for routine visits any more?

Ask the Doctor

Q. I've found lately that when I make a routine appointment with my doctor's office, I may be seen by a physician assistant or nurse practitioner instead of my doctor. I really don't have any complaints, but I'm wondering why they seem to be taking on things that my doctor used to handle. Is this a new trend?

A. In my practice, many patients see a nurse practitioner instead of me. The appointment might be for an initial visit to get established in the practice, for routine prenatal care, for an urgent issue such as a miscarriage, or for bothersome symptoms such as those from a persistent yeast infection. If a woman has complex medical issues, the nurse practitioner immediately consults me, and together we decide the best next steps.

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