About Nurse Practitioners

Who is the Nurse Practitioner?
A NP is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) formally educated in a specific role or population to provide care for individuals and families within a variety of settings (LSBN, Ch. 45, 2017).

History of NPs
Dr. Loretta Ford and Dr. Henry Silver developed the first Nurse Practitioner (NP) program at the University of Colorado in 1965 with a general practice focus. One of the earliest Master’s degree programs was initiated at Boston College in 1967 and one of the first Family NP programs was developed at the University of Washington in 1971. The first certification exam for neonatal nurse practitioners was offered by National Certification Corporation in 1983. In the late 1980’s, new adult acute care programs emerged in response to the need for more medical providers able to care for acute and critically ill populations. Subsequently, the first national certification for the acute care NPs was administered in 1995. Pediatric certification bodies identified the same need to differentiate the body of knowledge needed for acute and complexly ill children and offered the first acute care pediatric NP exam in 2005 (AACN, 2012; AANP, ).

In 1985, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) was established to represent NPs nationwide, developed a national NP database, and began unified efforts to affect pertinent national legislation within its first year of existence. By 1992 AANP worked with international associations in support of developing the NP role internationally.

Since the development of this Advanced Practice Nursing role, the formal education and practice of the Nurse Practitioner continues to expand and evolve. Click here to enjoy an in-depth historical perspective of the NP role.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN] (2012). Adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner competencies. Retrieved from: http://www.aacn/nche.edu/students/nursing-program-search.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners [AANP] (2017). All about NPs. Retrieved from: https://www.aanp.org/all-about-nps.

Resources for Prospective and Current NP Students
Click here to access resources to support the planning of your NP education that is made available to prospective students through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.