A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse who provides assistance with patient care and completes higher-level tasks such as education of patients, supervising nursing personnel and assisting physicians and other medical professionals with treatment plans. A variety of abbreviations exist to designate the applicable certifications, specialties and education of nurse practitioners.
The general abbreviation for nurse practitioners is NP. A general nurse practitioner has completed at least a bachelor degree and has a license to work as a registered nurse (RN) in her home state. Additionally, she has at least two years experience practicing as an RN and has completed a master’s degree and additional training. She must also pass a licensing examination to practice as a nurse practitioner. A general nurse practitioner works in a variety of patient care areas providing assistance in inpatient and outpatient settings, including performing physical examinations and prescribing medications.
Nurse practitioners who specialize in a certain area are given specific abbreviations such as FNP for Family Nurse Practitioner who specializes in providing medical care for families; ANP for Adult Nurse Practitioner who focuses on providing medical care specifically to adult patients; and APNP for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner who concentrates on providing care to psychiatric patients. FNPs often work in hospitals and family health clinics providing preventive and general care to children and adults. APNPs generally complete a doctoral degree and work with psychologists and psychiatrists to provide psychiatric care to patients and prescribe medications.
Many nurse practitioners gain professional certification from organizations such as the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, which offers a national certification program for a nurse practitioner to demonstrate her knowledge and know-how in the family, adult and gerontologic specialties. Upon successful completion of the certification program nurse practitioners earn the Family Nurse Practitioner-Certified (FNP-C) Adult Nurse Practitioner-Certified (ANP-C) and Gerontologic Nurse Practitioner-Certified (GNP-C) titles. Some nurse practitioners gain certification in a specific specialty of the medical field such as oncology. The Onocology Nursing Certification Corporation offers the Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (AOCNP) examination.
A nurse practitioner who completes a certain type of degree is often given a specific abbreviation, such as an individual who completed a dual Master of Science/Master of Public Health Nurse Practitioner program (MSN-NP/MPH). A MSN-NP/MPH focuses on providing primary care that incorporates promotion of health and prevention of injury and illness. An additional abbreviation for a nurse practitioner who completed a certain degree is a MNNP, a Master of Nursing Nurse Practitioner.