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Nurse Practitioner


Nurse practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice nursing professionals (APRNs) who occupy a space between physicians and staff nurses. They assess patients, perform basic diagnostic testing and initiate treatment plans. Nurse practitioners bring a holistic approach to patient care by evaluating all factors that impact a person’s health. This wider perspective allows NPs to identify lifestyle choices and disease management steps for patients to improve their health.

What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do?

NPs hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). They must also have already passed the NCLEX-RN exam and have an active license. MSN programs that qualify nurse practitioners are aligned by patient population; aspiring NPs choose among specialties in women’s health, pediatrics, gerontology, family health, psychiatry, oncology or adult health. In many specializations, NPs must maintain active certification through an industry-approved governing body.

In day-to-day practice, a nurse practitioner’s duties can vary widely. Typical tasks can include:

  • Taking verbal patient histories
  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, including labs and imaging
  • Prescribing medication
  • Administering immunizations
  • Developing and managing treatment plans
  • Performing in-office procedures
  • Treating minor injuries
  • Diagnosing acute and chronic illnesses
  • Developing policies
  • Educating and counseling patients

Potential Work Settings

  • Family practice clinics
  • Pediatric clinics
  • Specialty clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Schools
  • Emergency rooms
  • Urgent care treatment centers

What Does It Take to Become a Nurse Practitioner?


  • Observant
  • Self-confident
  • Compassionate
  • Communicative
  • Critical Thinking
  • Healthy
  • Emotionally Stable
  • Organization and Attention to Detail

Nurse Practitioner Information and Job Outlook

  • Annual salary range: $82,780 - $107,520
  • Job Outlook: 2010 - 2.74 million jobs; 2020 - 3.45 million jobs

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