Nurse Practitioner Prescriptive Privilege

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) advocates that nurse practitioners (NPs) have unrestricted prescriptive authority, including dispensing privileges, within their scope of practice.

NPs are independently licensed, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who have advanced training and education that prepare them to work in the NP role. NPs have graduate education in pharmacology, pathophysiology, physical assessment and clinical diagnosis and treatment that prepares them to diagnose and prescribe medications and treatments. NPs make both independent and coordinated care decisions about the health care needs of individuals, families and groups across the lifespan.

Five decades of research concludes that NPs provide safe, cost-effective, high-quality health care. Prescribing medications, devices, treatments and modalities is a central component of the NP role and essential to NP practice. Restrictions on prescriptive authority unnecessarily limit the ability of NPs to provide comprehensive health care services.

AANP recommends that NP prescribing authority be solely regulated by state boards of nursing and in accordance with the NP role, education and certification. This process of license and regulation exclusively by the nursing board promotes public safety and competent practice. NPs serve as members of state boards of nursing and are competent to appropriately regulate NP prescribing. AANP advocates that NPs be nationally certified.

The ability of NPs to prescribe, without restriction, legend and controlled medications, devices, health care services, durable medical equipment and other equipment and supplies is essential to providing cost-effective, quality health care for the diverse populations they serve across the life span.


Institute of Medicine (2010). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.

National Governors Association. The Role of Nurse Practitioners in Meeting Increasing Demand for Primary Care.

National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification & Education.

Federal Trade Commission. Policy Perspectives: Competition and the Regulation of Advanced Practice Nurses.

© American Association of Nurse Practitioners 1992
Revised 1993, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2015
Reviewed and revised by the AANP Fellows at the Winter 2015 Meeting

Print the Nurse Practitioner Prescriptive Privilege PDF