Around the world, nurses care for patients in a number of situations. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are RNs who have obtained a higher degree (APRN). In certain hospitals, these nurses can do extra duties and serve as primary care providers.

A nurse practitioner is one type of APRN that is very common. A nurse practitioner is qualified to diagnose illnesses, write prescriptions, and provide treatments since they have at least a master's degree.

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners are excellent healthcare providers because they combine advanced education and training with clinical knowledge and great communication abilities. They oversee the caseloads of patients and aid in patient education so that people are willing participants in their own healthcare.

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are needed in just about every facet of health care professionals, from private practice and hospitals to home healthcare and skilled care facilities. NPs are needed in policy roles and academia. Anywhere healthcare decisions are being made, nurse practitioners have an important role.

The advanced skills that a nurse practitioner brings to the U.S. healthcare system are so in demand that more than 20 states now allow nurse practitioners to practice independently, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).


How do you become a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners obtain their RNs and maintain their nursing licensure. Additionally, they must have a nursing master's degree. A higher degree will probably be required in the future. The majority of the nation's nursing associations advise nurse practitioners to pursue a doctorate in nursing.

RNs are needed as nurse practitioners, who also keep their nursing licenses current. Additionally, they must have a nursing master's degree. A higher degree will probably be required in the future. The majority of the country's nursing associations advise nurse practitioners to pursue a doctorate in nursing.


If you’re interested in becoming a nurse practitioner, your first step will be to earn a graduate degree that allows you to apply for RN licensure. You can choose from a diploma, associate degree in nursing (ADN), or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

Going for a bachelor’s degree could be a smart move if you are certain that you want to become a nurse practitioner. You'll be able to transfer more credits and establish the academic groundwork necessary for this position.

You’ll also need to earn an advanced degree. You can choose from a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctoral degree in nursing practice (DNP) degree. You’ll focus on a specialty in your MSN or DNP program and gain advanced knowledge.

There may be bridge programs that enable you to transition straight from an ADN to an MSN or from a BSN to a DPN. You can complete numerous degrees through these programs at once, which will save you time and money.

How long your education takes will depend on your degree path. Some general time frames include:

  • diploma RN programs: 2 years
  • ADN programs: 2 years
  • BSN programs: 4 years
  • MSN programs: 2 to 3 years
  • DNP programs: 3 to 5 years
  • ADN to MSN bridge programs: 3 years
  • BSN to DNP bridge programs: 3 to 5 years

What do Nurse Practitioners do?

A nurse practitioner works directly with patients and is typically responsible for providing urgent care, primary care, and specialty care to a specific population of people.

The job of a nurse practitioner may be on an equal level with that of a doctor, depending on the state in which they practice medicine in the United States. This is so that NPs can deliver care without a doctor's supervision.

The most typical tasks for NPs include tracking and recording patient medical histories, gathering patient samples and data, ordering lab tests, prescribing, observing patients, developing treatment plans, nursing programs, public health, wellness, family practice, carrying out minor medical procedures, checking health conditions of the community, supervising RNs and other staff, and developing treatment plans in collaboration with their team of the health care team.

You can choose to work as a nurse practitioner in a variety of settings, including hospitals, ERs or outpatient, government offices, surgical clinics, managed care institutions, and even in patient's homes.

What specialty area does a nurse practitioner have?

Family Nurse practitioner (FNP)
This is one of the most common nurse practitioner specialties. A primary care professional is an FNP. They provide patients of all ages with a larger variety of healthcare services.

Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
Adult patients receive primary care services from adult nurse practitioners. Exams, instructions, prescriptions, and disease prevention often fall under this category.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Primary care is provided to patients ranging in age from newborns to teenagers by pediatric nurse practitioners. They carry out physical examinations, make diagnoses, write prescriptions, and administer treatments, just like other primary care nurse practitioners.

Geriatric Nurse Practitioner
Geriatric nurse practitioners work with older adults. They may work with specific groups such as nursing home residents or people with diabetes. They provide primary care and education to patients.

Women’s Nurse Practitioner
A women's nurse practitioner focuses on issues specific to women's health. They offer complete gynecological and reproductive care.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Newborns are cared for by neonatal nurse practitioners. They work in labor and delivery units and in neonatal intensive care units. They usually also offer new parents counseling and education.

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Acute care nurse practitioners address sudden, severe injuries and illnesses in emergency rooms or urgent care facilities.

Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner (OHNP)
An OHNP treats workplace injuries and provides employee education

Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner
Aesthetic Nurse Practitioners are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses who specialize in cosmetic medical procedures that improve their patient's appearance.

Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP)
ENPs provide care to patients in ambulatory, urgent, and emergent care settings. ENPs assess, diagnose, and manage episodic illnesses, injuries, and acute exacerbations of chronic diseases.

ENPs order and interpret diagnostic tests (e.g., labs, imaging) and prescribe pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
A psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner is licensed and nationally board certified to provide psychiatric care for patients with mental illness. The current nationwide mental health crisis has created a wide range of psychiatric needs in contemporary healthcare.

Nurse Practitioners Certification

The American Nurses Credentialing Center, and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, among other nursing organizations, offer national certification. Before completing the certification exam, the majority of these organizations demand that NPs finish an authorized master's or doctoral-level NP program. The exams are available in specialized fields like:

  • Acute Care
  • gAdult Health
  • Family Health
  • Geriatric Health
  • Neonatal Health
  • Pediatric/Child Health
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
  • Women's Health