Nurse Practitioners
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Nurse Practitioners

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses (RNs) with advanced special training who provide comprehensive health care, such as diagnosing and treating common illnesses and injuries, prescribing medications, ordering and interpreting lab and diagnostic tests, and ordering referrals to specialists. Nurse Practitioners are important members of Northern Health’s Interprofessional Teams.


What is the Nurse Practitioner scope of practice?

Nurse Practitioners work independently and aren’t supervised by doctors. However, as part of their education, Nurse Practitioners learn when and how to consult and work with other health care professionals. If your Nurse Practitioner feels that your care needs are beyond what they are trained to provide, he or she will refer you to a family doctor or specialist.

What is the role of a NP in a primary care home?

  • Examine you and diagnose common health problems
  • Prescribe medication
  • Refer you to a specialist
  • Order tests and interpret their results
  • Screen for chronic disease
  • Provide wellness care / health promotion
  • Provide education and counselling

What are the educational and practice requirements for Nurse Practitioners?

  • Undergraduate degree in nursing
  • At least 2 years nursing practice before applying to the graduate program
  • Graduate degree with a focus on Nurse Practitioner clinical education
  • Graduate level education is available in every province
  • In BC, graduate level education is available at University of Northern BC, University of Victoria, and University of BC.

Do Nurse Practitioners specialize?

Nurse Practitioners choose one of three areas:

  • Family (all ages)
  • Adult
  • Pediatric

In BC, the training is specific to the family stream, however there are two other streams of education, acute and pediatric.