As the demand for Nurse Practitioners has increased, the variety of NP specialties has also grown. While the majority of NPs provide primary care, nearly one third of the NP workforce currently provides specialty care. Provided below is a list of the current NP specialties along with an explanation of how and where they are used.
Primary Care NP Specialties
(The NPs listed below are primary care trained but they can also work in specialties like Ortho, Neuro, Cardiology, Home Health, Hospice, Infectious Disease, Rheumatology, Psych, Urgent/walk in care, ER, Acute Care/Hospitalist, pediatrics , women’s health, etc.)
Adult Nurse Practitioners (ANP) – provides primary health care to adolescents through the senior years. ANPs can practice in several clinical settings including family practices, rural clinics, home health services and occupational health clinics. 20% of all NPs are ANPs.
Adult Gerontology (AGNP) – provides a range of acute, chronic and preventative healthcare services for adults across the lifespan from adolescence to old age. The AGNP certification is replacing the ANP certification. A few of the settings where AGNPs can practice include family practices, occupational health clinics, home health services, rural clinics and other adult and geriatric sites.
Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) – provides comprehensive health services to patients of all ages. FNPs practice in many settings including family practices, student health services, occupational health clinics, home health services, rural clinics, as well as child, adolescent, adult and geriatric sites. 70% of all NPs are FNPs.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) – provides comprehensive healthcare exclusively to children (ages 0-18 or 0-21). PNPs practice in a variety of settings including outpatient pediatric clinics, health departments, preschools or elementary schools, private pediatric practices and community agencies.
The NPs listed below can only work in their board certified specialty:
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) – provides comprehensive care to pre-term and full-term infants through the first few years of their lives. NNPs can practice in an intensive neonatal hospital setting independently or in private practices outside of the acute care setting.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) – provides counseling and psychopharmaceutical management to individuals, groups and families. PMHNPs can treat youth, adolescents, adults and seniors in a variety of practice settings, such as home health agencies, community mental health centers, in-patient psychiatric facilities, private psychiatric practices, schools, correctional facilities. 3% of NPs are PMHNPs.
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) –provides primary health care to women of all ages. Prenatal management, family planning, fertility, uro-gynecology and well-woman care. WHNPs can serve in a variety of practice settings, including but not limited to adult/internal medicine, family planning clinics, ambulatory OB-GYN clinics.
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner/Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP/ACPCNP) – treats acute and chronic adult health problems and meets the unique health care needs of women, including gynecologic health. WHNP/ACPCNPs serve in a variety of practice settings including adult/internal medicine, OB-GYN clinic, family planning clinics, ambulatory care centers, community clinics, private practices, specialty clinics.
The NPs listed below are trained to work in the hospital as a hospitalist or in the ER or ICU, but they can also work in primary care or other specialties:
Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) – provides treatment for the brief but severe episodes of illness, injury or trauma. ACNPs practice in a variety of settings including emergency departments, intensive care units, operating rooms, specialty labs, long-term care facilities and home healthcare settings.
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) – provides care to acutely ill adults and aging adults in both hospitals and clinics. AGACNPs focus on managing current and ongoing problems and preventing complications. AGACNPs can practice in a variety of settings, including the emergency department, intensive care unit, specialty labs, acute and sub-acute care wards, specialty clinics.
Emergency Nurse Practitioner –meets the growing needs among emergency departments in treating children, adults and seniors with urgent primary care needs, critical illnesses, injuries or trauma. This specialty is a dual focus Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty. Emergency Nurse Practitioners serve patients in many different practice settings, such as critical access hospitals, main emergency departments, urgent care clinic and fast-track emergency departments.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Acute Care (PACNP) – provides care to acutely ill children. A few of the settings where PACNPs can practice include pediatric emergency departments, pediatric hospital service, pediatric sedation services, and pediatric ICUs.
Please Note: Some NPs are dually certified, example being they are an FNP and PMHNP- so they can do everything a PMHNP and everything an FNP can do. Some also have a DNP-Doctorate NP. All NP’s have an MSN/masters science nursing. CNS/clinical nurse specialists can sometimes be used interchangeably with an NP (but they are trained differently).
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