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Nurse practitioners (NPs) are licensed, independent practitioners who practice autonomously and in coordination with health care professionals and other individuals. They provide primary and specialty care in a variety of ambulatory, acute and long-term care settings. NPs are registered nurses with specialized, advanced education and clinical practice competency to provide health care for diverse populations. Master’s, post-master’s or doctoral preparation and national board certification are required for entry-level practice.
The NP role is consistent with the APRN Consensus Model, practicing in the population foci of Family/Individual Across Lifespan, Pediatrics, Women’s Health/Gender Related, Adult-Gerontology, Neonatal and Psychiatric Mental Health. NP scope of practice is not setting-specific and is based on the needs of the patient. The education, certification and licensure of an individual must be congruent in terms of role and population foci. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including NPs, may specialize, but they cannot be licensed solely within a specialty area. In addition, specialties can provide depth in one’s practice within the established population foci. Education and assessment strategies for specialty areas will be developed by the nursing profession, i.e., nursing organizations and special interest groups. Education for a specialty can occur concurrently with the APRN education required for licensure or through post-graduate education. Competence at the specialty level will not be assessed or regulated by boards of nursing, but rather, by professional organizations.
In addition to their clinical role, NPs may serve as health care researchers, interdisciplinary consultants and patient advocates. NPs provide a wide range of health care services, including the diagnosis and management of acute, chronic and complex health problems; health promotion; disease prevention; health education; and counseling to individuals, families, groups and communities.
NPs blend the scientific process, current evidence and national standards of care with a holistic approach to manage patient care and foster professional practice. This process includes the following components.
The NP assesses health status by:
The NP makes a diagnosis by:
The NP, together with the patient and family, establishes an evidence-based, mutually acceptable, cost-conscious, effective plan of care that maximizes health potential or end-of-life decisions. Formulation of the plan of care includes:
Interventions are based upon established priorities and consistent with the NP's specialized education and clinical practice. Actions by NPs are:
The NP maintains a process for systematic follow-up by:
The NP’s practice model emphasizes patient-centered holistic health care:
The NP provides health and wellness education and utilizes community resource opportunities for the individual and family.
The NP facilitates patient participation in health care by providing the evidenced-based, culturally sensitive information needed to make decisions and choices regarding:
As a licensed, autonomous practitioner, the NP contributes to patient care as a team leader and member in the provision of health care, interacting with professional colleagues to provide patient-centered, comprehensive, quality care.
The NP maintains accurate, legible and confidential records.
The NP is a responsible advocate for patient welfare and upholds ethical and legal standards. As an advocate, the NP influences health policy at the local, state, national and international levels.
NPs recognize the importance of continued education through:
NPs combine the roles of provider, mentor, preceptor, educator, researcher, advocate, and interdisciplinary consultant. The NP interprets and emulates the role of the NP to individuals, families, professional colleagues and legislators.
NPs support research and dissemination of evidence-based practice by developing clinical research questions, conducting or participating in studies, implementing quality improvement and incorporating system changes into practice.