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  • Z. Garnett

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse Practitioners (NPs), also known as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (ARPNs), play a vital role in helping to provide care for patients. They are highly educated and skilled medical professionals who share similar duties as physicians. The history of this profession dates back to the 1960's when there was an increased demand for primary care providers in the United States. Medicare and Medicaid had just been expanded, providing low income individuals and persons with disabilities new access to healthcare. Nurses stepped into fill the void of this new demand. In 1965, the University of Colorado created the first Nurse Practitioner Program.

Education and Training

Nurse Practitioners have a robust education comprised of evidence-based coursework and clinical rotations. The requirements to become an NP are as follows:

- Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

- Completed a Nurse Practitioner focused graduate or doctoral program

- Successfully pass National NP board certified exam


Nurse Practitioners perform the following duties such as conducting physical exams, diagnose and treat diseases and other health conditions, and prescribe medications.

National Nurse Practitioner Week (Nov 12-18th)

Nurse Practitioners are legally able to practice in all 50 states; however, some states have restrictions which limit Nurse Practitioner’s range of practice. As a result, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners created National Nurse Practitioner Week to highlight the importance of NPs and to get lawmakers to remove barriers to practice. It is celebrated during the second week of November.

How do you plan to celebrate the Nurse Practitioners in your life?


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