A nurse practitioner (nurse or nurse practitioner) is authorized to offer a wide range of health care services, including:

  • Take the patient’s medical history, perform a physical examination and order laboratory tests and procedures
  • Diagnose, treat and manage diseases
  • Providing prescriptions and coordinating referrals
  • Promoting healthy activities with the patient
  • Performing certain procedures such as bone marrow biopsy or lumbar puncture

Nurse practitioners work in diverse settings, including:

  • Cardiology
  • Emergencies
  • Family nursing
  • Geriatrics
  • Neonatology
  • Nephrology
  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics
  • Primary
  • School Programs
  • Women’s health

Some nurse practitioners work in clinics without doctor supervision, and others work with doctors as a joint team of health care. The scope of practice and authority depends on state laws. For example, some states allow nurse practitioners to write prescriptions, while others do not.
Like many other professionals, nurse practitioners are two levels of regulation. They are licensed professional card through a process that takes place at the state level in accordance with state laws, and are certified through national organizations with uniform standards of professional practice in all states.

The laws for the licensing of nurse practitioners vary greatly from state to state. Currently, more states are requiring nurse practitioners to have a master’s degree and national certification.
In some states, the professional nursing practice is completely independent, while other states require that medical professionals to work for the privilege to prescribe or to obtain a license. A few states have not yet licensed specifically for nurse practitioners or recognize practice.

National certification is offered through various nursing organizations, including the American Nurses Association, Pediatric Nursing Certification Board and others. Most of these organizations require nurse practitioners to complete a professional nursing program approved masters level before taking the certification exam. The reviews tend to be offered in specialty areas, including:

  • Acute care
  • Adult Nursing
  • Family nursing
  • Geriatrics
  • Pediatrics
  • School nursing
  • Health care for women

To be re-certified, NPs need to show proof of continuing education. Only certified nurse practitioners may use a “C” before or behind their other credentials (eg: Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, FNP-C, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner). Some nurse practitioners may use the credential APN rather than NP, denoting advanced practice nurse, a broader category that also includes clinical nurse specialists, nurses or certified nurse-midwives, like nurses or nurses graduates qualified to administer anesthesia.

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