NP Facts


What is a Nurse Practitioner?


A Nurse Practitioner is a registered nurse (RN) with advanced education and clinical training who can provide a wide range of healthcare services, including the diagnosis and management of common as well as complex medical conditions.  NPs work autonomously and in conjunction with other professionals, including physicians, to provide coordinated, comprehensive, quality health care.


Nurse Practitioners have been providing high quality health care since 1965.  Today, over 125 thousand NPs practice nationwide in a variety of settings such as community health centers, university and student health centers, school health clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, and private offices.  NPs are working almost everywhere healthcare is provided.


How is NP Practice Regulated?


Nurse Practitioners are legally authorized to practice in all 50 states.  NP’s practice within the scope of their state’s nurse practice act and provide comprehensive health care including diagnosing common and complex health problems and prescribing medications.  Nurse Practitioners are prepared to practice within a population focus, for example, as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner.  Other options for NP preparation include family, adult, gerontology, pediatrics, neonatal, acute care, or psychiatric health.  National board certification in their role demonstrates expert knowledge and continuing competence.  Women’s Health NPs are certified by the National Certification Corporation (NCC).

What can Nurse Practitioners do?


Nurse Practitioners provide holistic, comprehensive health care within their area of specialization and can:

Evaluate an individual’s health by taking a history, performing a physical examination, and ordering and interpreting results from laboratory and diagnostic tests/procedures;

Diagnose health and medical conditions by reviewing all available health information, and applying advanced clinical decision making skills;

Manage health problems by developing an individualized plan of care, prescribing medications or treatments, obtaining consultations and referrals and coordinating health care services;

Promote health by ordering screenings, prescribing preventive therapies, (immunizations, life-style changes such as weight loss, smoking cessation, etc.) and teaching and counseling.

Collaborate with patients, families, and other health care providers to optimize the health care plan to the individual needs.


What specific Women’s Health Services do Nurse Practitioners provide?


Nurse practitioners provide ambulatory women’s health services that embrace most of a woman’s health needs throughout her life including:


Adolescent health care

Well woman exams

Breast cancer screening and problem evaluation

Pap smears, HPV screening
Health and wellness counseling
Contraceptive care
STD screening, treatment, and follow-up
Pregnancy testing

Health management during the childbearing year including

            Optimizing preconception health, prenatal visits, and after pregnancy care
Problems with menstruation – too much, too little, too many, too few

Fertility evaluation

Evaluation and treatment of common infections

Urinary tract problems like incontinence or infections
Menopause health promotion and problem management
Screening for general health problems like heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes with referral when needed


Will My Insurance Cover Nurse Practitioner Fees?

Many insurance programs including Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies pay for health services provided by nurse practitioners. The type of insurance you have will determine what types of services are covered.


Why should I choose a Nurse Practitioner for my health?


Nurse practitioners take time to answer your questions and address your concerns. If you want a highly qualified professional who will focus on your health needs as well as your medical problems, choose a nurse practitioner.