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by John George

The proliferation of health clinics in retail stores has created hundreds of job opportunities for advanced nurse practitioners – a primary-care specialty whose ranks are growing at a time when the number of family doctors continues to decline.

Advanced nurse practitioners, or APNS, are registered nurses who have completed advanced education and training to diagnose and treat common medical conditions and manage chronic illnesses.

About 150,000 nurse practitioners provide care in the United States. They can be found in doctors’ offices, public health centers, nursing homes, home-care agencies, HMOs and at nurse practitioner-managed health centers. In some settings, they serve as a patient’s primary health-care provider.

Marina Ordiner has spent the past year as a family nurse practitioner at the MinuteClinic inside the CVS pharmacy on Lancaster Avenue in Bryn Mawr.

“I love it,” Ordiner said. “I look forward to coming to work.”

A native of Italy, Ordiner came to the United States to enroll at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing.

After graduating as an APN, she spent eight years at the Family Practice & Counseling Network – a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that operates three primary-care centers in the city managed by advanced nurse practitioners.

While there, she heard about MinuteClinic and its model of placing clinics in retail pharmacies. The concept piqued her interest.

“At first they were only in Minnesota,” Ordiner said. “I was waiting for them to come here.”

That happened in 2007, about a year after MinuteClinic was acquired by CVS Corp.

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