An advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) is a registered nurse who holds a master's degree in nursing. To become a nurse practitioner requires a minimum of 6 years of education, part of which includes hands-on didactic training. A national certification exam in the ARNP's specialty area must be passed, and state licensing must be obtained before a nurse practitioner may legally practice. Specialty areas available to the ARNP include but are not limited to: acute care, psychiatry, pediatric and women's health nursing. ARNPs generally work under a supervising physician; however, some states allow ARNPs to work independently. The work of a nurse practitioner generally includes performing a health assessment, diagnosing health disorders, prescribing medications as indicated, and following and managing patients over a life span. ARNPs complete physical exams and may order and interpret laboratory, radiologic and other diagnostic tests as needed to diagnose and treat a patient in conjunction with the physician. ARNPs may also order medications and other therapeutic procedures as needed. ARNPs serve to educate patients and promote health. Some nurse practitioners also serve as first assistants to the supervising physician during surgical and medical procedures. Nurse practitioners may work with a variety of patient populations, including pediatric, adult and elderly clients. Practice settings can include inpatient and outpatient health clinics, hospitals, jails and prisons, and private practice offices. Working conditions can include contact with contagious diseases and bodily fluids. Working hours are generally weekdays, but may include nights, weekends and holidays, as needed. With the increased access to medical care, the role of the nurse practitioner as a provider has increased.
Nurse Practitioner (NP) Tasks
- Order and interpret test results and recommend treatment of patients.
- Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment and counsel patients.
- Prescribe therapy or medication with physician approval.
- Administer therapeutic procedures.
- Provide physicians with assistance during surgery or complicated medical procedures.