A Nurse Practitioner (or NP) is a registered professional nurse with advanced education and training who evaluates and treats patients as an independent health care provider. The first formal Nurse Practitioner program was developed at the University of Colorado in 1965, and the educational programs have continued to grow throughout the United States and abroad. There are currently over 140,000 licensed NP’s practicing in the US.
All NP’s have a basic degree (Bachelor’s degree in Nursing) and a Masters Degree, which prepares them with specialized knowledge in the evaluation and treatment of patients in a wide variety of clinical settings. Some NP’s have earned a Doctor of Nursing (ND) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree which requires additional education of approximately 4 years.
All Nurse Practitioners must have certification from a national board, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The license to practice as a NP is granted from the individual’s State Board of Nursing in which the NP practices. Some Nurse Practitioners practice in primary care, while others specialize in areas such as pediatrics, gerontology, oncology, women’s health, orthopaedics, neurosurgery, neurology, cardiology, psychiatry, etc.
Nurse Practitioners practice in a variety of settings, including rural clinics, offices, acute care hospitals, emergency department, urgent care, nursing homes, rehab facilities, schools and academic facilities.
Some of the services that NP’s provide include:
- Evaluate and treat acute and chronic illnesses
- Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests
- Evaluate and treat various specialty disorders
- Prescribe medications
- Prescribe treatments
- Health education and health counseling
Choose a Nurse Practitioner for your health care provider!