FAQs About APNs

A nurse practitioner or advanced practice nurse (APN) is a licensed medical professional.  NPs evaluate patients, diagnose, write prescriptions and bring a comprehensive perspective to health care. What sets NPs apart from other health care providers is their unique emphasis on the health and well-being of the whole person. NPs focus on health promotion, disease prevention, health education, and counseling. NPs guide patients to make smarter health and lifestyle choices.

A nurse practitioner needs 6+ years of academic and clinical preparation before they can become licensed. Prior to beginning a nurse practitioner program, all NPs must be licensed as a registered nurse (RN). All nurse practitioners must graduate with a minimum of a Master’s degree in nursing (MSN), some may obtain a Doctorate in Nursing (DNP). Requirements also include advanced clinical training beyond their initial professional registered nurse preparation.

To be recognized as expert health care providers and ensure the highest quality of care, NPs undergo rigorous state and national certification, periodic peer review, clinical outcome evaluations, and adhere to a code for ethical practices. Self-directed continued learning and professional development is also essential to maintaining clinical competency.

NPs are licensed in all states and the District of Columbia, and practice under the rules and regulations of the state in which they are licensed. In New Jersey NP’s can practice autonomously but may require a collaborating physician to perform certain tasks

  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests such as lab work and x-rays.
  • Diagnosing and treating acute and chronic conditions such as chronic back pain, pre- and post- operative care infections, and injuries.
  • Prescribing medications and other treatment modalities.
  • Managing patients’ overall care.
  • Counseling and education patients on disease prevention and positive health/lifestyle choices.