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Is a nurse practitioner a doctor or a nurse?

NURSE PRACTITIONERS: What are they and what can they do?


Here's the description from the California Board of Registered Nursing:

"The nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who possesses additional preparation and skills in physical diagnosis, psychosocial assessment, and management of health and illness needs in primary health care."


In order to provide medical services above the scope of a registered nurse, the nurse practitioner has:


1. Completed an approved nurse practitioner education program which includes medically precepted clinical practice hours.✅


2. Obtained a Master's Degree in Nursing.


3. Successfully completed a national examination for certification as Nurse Practitioner in an approved specialty (such as adult primary care). ✅


4. Obtained 7 to 8 years of college level education in the sciences; including chemistry, anatomy and physiology, disease processes, pharmacology, multiple nursing specialties, and general patient care combined.✅




What education does an NP have that a nurse doesn't?

-The entry level education for Registered Nurses (RNs) is a two-year associate degree and the ability to pass the NCLEX for RNs.


-Nurse Practitioners must become Registered Nurses with a 4-year degree prior to undertaking the additional Nurse Practitioner Master's Degree.


-NPs thus have prior patient care and management experience, usually for multiple years. 

Starting as a registered nurse (RN)

-Once the NP designation with the additional training and degree are accomplished, the Nurse Practitioner must pass a national certification

test in their specialty, for example: Adult Primary Care.


-The NP is then able to provide many of the typical health care services within the realm of "practicing medicine" often provided by physicians 

(MDs or DOs) based on individual state regulations.


-We can prescribe medications, write treatment orders, and diagnose

and treat medical conditions, to name a few.  

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