Office of AdmissionGraduate Programs

Family Nurse Practitioner Roles

Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) are registered nurses who are prepared, through advanced education and clinical training, to provide a wide range of preventive and acute health care services to individuals of all ages.  FNPs complete graduate and doctoral-level preparation that leads to a Doctor of Nursing practice degree. FNPs take health histories and provide complete physical examinations; diagnose and treat many common acute and chronic problems; interpret laboratory results and X-rays; prescribe and manage medications and other therapies; provide health teaching and supportive counseling with an emphasis on prevention of illness and health maintenance; and refer patients to other health professionals as needed. 

In the United States, because the profession is state-regulated, care provided by FNPs varies. Some nurse practitioners work independently of physicians while, in other states, a collaborative agreement with a physician is required for practice.  The extent of this collaborative agreement, and the role, duties, responsibilities afforded an FNP to perform varies amongst states of licensure/certification.  The scope of practice for FNPs globally varies even more widely than within the United States.  A general list of the scope of pratice for Family Nurse Practitioners is below, and a state specific list can be found at the Pearson's Report link below.

Family Nurse Practitioners:

  • Perform minor surgeries and procedures
  • Exercise autonomy in clinical decision-making
  • Provide care for patients in acute and critical care settings
  • Provide patient education and counseling
  • Provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic health services
  • Promote wellness and prevention of disease and injury
  • Perform physical exams and health histories
  • Practice in collaboration with all members of the health care team
  • Order and interpret laboratory tests and diagnostic studies
  • Engage in research, education, patient advocacy, and administrative activities
  • Diagnose and treat illnesses
  • Have prescriptive privileges in most states

The above content is adapted from the American College of Nurse Practitioners website, as well as from the Nurse Practitioner Wikipedia site

Links to more information ...

More information on the nurse practitioner role, job outlook, and ARNP licensure:


Resources and Journals for Nurse Practitioners:

Questions? Contact Us

To request more information or ask questions, please contact us:

Phone: (253) 535-7672
E-mail: gradnurs@plu.edu
Or click here for the online information request form.

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