I have been a nurse for 20 years and a nurse practitioner for the past six years. I have seen a great deal of confusion from family, friends and even my patients on exactly what is a nurse practitioner. It does not help that as a profession we use several different acronyms that can cause confusion. So hopefully this blog can give you some insight. Also, in honor of nurse practitioner week which is November 8 th to the 14 th , I couldn’t think of a more pertinent initial blog post.

Ok let’s start off with the acronyms. The following abbreviations are common examples of what Nurse Practitioners maybe referred too NP (nurse practitioner), CNP (certified nurse practitioner), APRN (advanced practice registered nurse). All NPs are APRNs, but not all APRNs are NPs (confused, I will explain). An APRN can be a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, or clinical nurse specialists. All APRNs have earned a masters, post-master degree or a doctorate (PhD or DNP) to practice within their appropriate specialty.

Regarding NPs we practice in all 50 states, in various specialties (primary care, cardiology, dermatology, etc.). NPs can diagnose and manage acute and chronic illness with a focus on health promotion and disease prevention (AANP, 2013). We assess, diagnose and treat our patients, order and interpret laboratory test, prescribe non pharmacologic and pharmacologic treatments, teach and counsel our patients, refer to the appropriate specialist, etc.

For over 45 years NPs have provided patient centered care to a broad range of patients. Research continues to support that nurse practitioners provide high quality health care to our patients. In the state of Florida, legislation was signed this year by Governor Ron DeSantis, allowing NPs to practice independently as primary care clinicians, after completing an application with the Florida Board of Nursing.

I love being a nurse and I am very thankful to practice as a NP. I enjoy forming relationships with my patients and providing them with the best care they need to live a healthy life. It is not always an easy road within the nursing profession, but I feel nursing is a calling and the role of the nurse practitioner is no different. So, as I embark on this new journey with Compassion Primary Care, I look forward to serving my patients and the Tampa Bay community.

Other common abbreviations:

  • PhD – NPs and all nurses can obtain a Doctor of Philosophy, and be called doctor
  • DNP – NPs and all nurses can obtain a Doctor of Nursing Practice, and be called doctor
  • FNP – Family nurse practitioner – provides care to patients of all ages
  • AGPCNP – Adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner provides care to patients 13 years of age and older in the primary care setting
  • PMHNP – Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner provides specialty care to individuals with mental health disorders.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) (2013). Scope of practice for nurse practitioners. Retrieved November 2017 from www.aanp.org

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