Nurse Practitioner (NP) role grew from a need for wellness exams for children in the 1960s. Over the intervening years, their contributions have expanded into many population and specialty areas. NPs continue to identify needs of patients and work to meet these by providing care to newborns, children, and adults in various hospital and outpatient settings.


Nurse practitioners (NPs) build on their nursing knowledge and experience by returning to school for additional education in a specialized area at a masters or doctoral level (AANP, Curriculum, 2013). Upon completion of the educational program, NPs must pass a standardized certification test prior to being recognized as an NP in Arizona. Maintaining certification requires fulfillment of continuing education and practice hour requirements (Arizona State Board, 2012).

NPs specialize in a population group for which they provide health care services by identifying and managing chronic and acute illnesses while educating about health promotion and disease prevention (AANP, Scope, 2013). NPs work in many settings. They may provide care in hospitals, in primary care settings, and in specialty clinics depending on their education and interests.

There are more than 192,000 NPs practicing in the United States. More than 87% of these are prepared as primary care providers (AANP Fact Sheet, 2014). Arizona has five universities that prepare nurse practitioners to assist in meeting health care needs in our state. There are more than 5,000 NPs licensed in Arizona (Arizona Board, 2015).


AANP (2013). Nurse practitioner curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.aanp.org/images/documents/publications/curriculum.pdf

AANP (2014). NP Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.aanp.org/all-about-nps/np-fact-sheet

AANP (2013). Scope of practice for nurse practitioners. Retrieved from http://www.aanp.org/images/documents/publications/scopeofpractice.pdf

Arizona State Board of Nursing (2015). Daily Arizona nursing statistics. Retrieved from https://www.azbn.gov/

Arizona State Board of Nursing (2012). Nurse practice act. Retrieved from https://www.azbn.gov/nursepracticeact