What is a nurse practitioner?

Nurse Practitioner as defined by the NY Office of the Professions:

What services can a nurse practitioner provide?


In New York State, a nurse practitioner is a registered professional nurse who has completed advanced nursing education, usually a master’s or doctorate degree, in a nurse practitioner specialty area and is certified by the New York State Education Department (“SED”) as a “Nurse Practitioner” or “NP”.

SED certifies nurse practitioners to practice in the following specialty practice areas: Adult Health; Family Health; Gerontology; Neonatology; Obstetrics; Oncology; Pediatrics, Perinatology; Psychiatry; School Health; Women’s Health; Holistic Care; and Palliative Care. Nurse Practitioners manage the medical and nursing care to their patients.

According to New York State Education Law §6902, a nurse practitioner diagnoses illnesses and physical conditions and performs therapeutic and corrective measures within a specialty area of practice in which the nurse practitioner is certified by SED. There are many New York laws and regulations that impact on the practice of nurse practitioners. To view some of these laws and regulations, click on “Laws Rules & Regulations” on the left side of the Nursing Homepage.

Nurse Practitioner (Family Health): 
diagnoses, treats and manages the care of families and individuals across the life span. Family nurse practitioners usually provide primary care but may also provide acute care; they may address acute or chronic health problems or provide preventive or supportive care. Family Nurse Practitioners practice in a variety of settings, including schools, homes, work places, hospitals, clinics and primary care health practices.

In My Own Words:
A Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP or NP) is a registered professional nurse who also has additional education, such as a Master’s degree or Doctoral degree, and training in advanced nursing in the field of family health.

Nurse practitioners focus on the “whole” person to promote health and wellbeing. NPs also provide health education and counseling and often are able to reduce overall healthcare spending by eliminating unnecessary testing and services.

~ Christine Carter, NP

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