Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) |
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Nurse Practitioner (ARNP)

Advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a license to work as a registered nurse, and/or a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing, a state nurse practitioner license and a national board certification. ARNPs may:

  • Perform examinations on patients
  • Diagnose diseases and disorders utilizing physical examinations, patient histories and imaging/laboratory test results
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests
  • Manage a patient’s healthcare by developing and implementing a treatment program to address the patient’s imminent needs
  • Prescribe medications, medical equipment, and therapies
  • Refer patients to physicians or surgeons specializing in specific diseases and disorders
  • Refer patients to healthcare facilities offering advanced care for severe chronic disorders


The National Council Licensure Examination must be passed before a nursing license is granted to anyone wanting to practice nursing in the U.S. Registered nurses can also possess more than one state-issued license as long as they pass the exam provided by that state’s licensing board.

Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN)

After earning their bachelor’s degree in nursing, nurses can go on to obtain an MSN needed to work as an ARNP. An MSN program also offers one or more of the following specialties:

  • Geriatrics
  • Family care
  • Acute care
  • Palliative care
  • Psychiatric nursing
  • Pediatric
  • Obstetrics/gynecological nursing
  • Neonatal care

Scope of practice for ARNPs differs according to the state in which they practice. For example,

  • Full practice states allow ARNPs to diagnose conditions, provide treatment and order diagnostic tests according to rules of regional state boards of nursing
  • Reduced practice states require ARNPs to collaborate with at least one more healthcare provider before diagnosing or treating patients
  • Restricted practice states may require ARNPs be in direct supervision while dealing with one element of their practice.

For more information about scope of practice, visit the American Association of Nurse Practitioners website.