What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are Registered Nurses (RNs) with advanced educational preparation (generally a Masters degree in Nursing) and experience who possess and demonstrate the competencies to autonomously diagnose, order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe pharmaceuticals and perform specific procedures within their legislated scope of practice (Canadian Nurses Association, CNPI, 2006).  NPs provide health care services to individuals of all ages, families and communities, emphasizing health promotion and disease prevention.  NPs work in a variety settings including community clinics, emergency departments, specialty acute care settings, and long-term care facilities.  NPs work autonomously and in collaboration with a variety of health care professionals to engage patients as partners to address health care needs.

How Can a Nurse Practitioner Help You?

The nurse practitioner is part of your health care team. Research has demonstrated that nurse practitioners are a valuable and essential part of Canada’s health-care system. They provide quality, timely health care to many Canadians and increase access to services across the health-care system. Nurse practitioners provide high-quality management of chronic illness (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure).

There are different types of nurse practitioners providing care to people of all ages, families, groups and communities. Nurse practitioners work in a variety of health-care settings, including community clinics, health-care centres, doctors’ offices, nurse practitioner-led clinics, nursing homes, hospitals and the homes of patients. 

Why Choose a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners involve the people they are caring for in decisions about their health care. Nurse practitioners learn their patients’ backgrounds and concerns to meet their individual health and wellness needs. 

The NP provides you, the consumer, with a choice in accessing a health care provider.  NPs work in collaboration with a variety of health care professionals to keep you, your family, and the community you live in healthy.  As an expert in health care, the NP offers a holistic approach by addressing much more than your immediate concerns.  She/he also provides preventative health education and planning that allows you to stay as healthy and active as possible and encourages you to be an active partner in health care decisions. 

Education, registration for practice, scope of practice responsibility, and registration renewal are rigorous for NPs. The processes are demanding to obtain and maintain registration for practice. Few other health or nursing roles are as scrutinized, standardized, investigated, or evaluated related to education to practice, legislative acts and scope of practice responsibilities, practice audits by regulators, and employer performance reviews.  

Other information located at www.npnow.ca