Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners (NP) are similar to registered nurses in that they provide direct care to all types of patients. They also have to be licensed by the state in which they practice. The difference between RNs and NPs, is that NPs hold master’s degrees in nursing (MSN) and, in some cases, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Because they have specialized training in many different clinical areas, NPs can assess, diagnose and treat patients ranging from newborns to seniors.

Services Provided

The scope of a nurse practitioner's work varies with individual state regulations, but typically an NP can be involved with health promotion and disease prevention, as well as patient and family education. Key services include:

  • Performing comprehensive physical examinations
  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests
  • Treating common acute health problems
  • Managing chronic health conditions
  • Requesting specialty consultations
  • Performing therapeutic measures
  • Furnish medications
Certification Requirements

To become a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse must complete courses related to the direct care of individuals, including differential diagnosis, clinical decision making, medical therapeutics and pharmacology. Other requirements include:

  • 500 hours of supervised clinical practice
  • Pass national certification exams after graduation
  • License from the state in which you practice
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