History of Nurse Practitioners

The role of Nurse Practitioners began in response to the shortage of primary care providers when Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 expanded their coverage to low-income families and patients with disabilities. The first nurse practitioner program was developed that year by Dr. Loretta Ford and Dr. Henry Silver in the University of Colorado. Initially, Nurse Practitioners worked primarily in pediatrics, but in 1970s many new Nurse Practitioner programs emerged with adult health focus and certification.

A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. After earning a Master’s in Nursing Degree and becoming board certified in a nurse practitioner specialty, Nurse Practitioners follow rules and regulations set by the Nurse Practice Act of their practicing state.

The Role of Nurse Practitioners

The role of NP’s includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Conduct examinations
  • Prescribe medication
  • Conduct and order diagnostic tests
  • Diagnose and treat acute and chronic illnesses

Nurse Practitioners use a holistic and preventive care approach with personalized treatment based on evidence-based research and the latest health guidelines to promote optimal patient health and healing.

These advanced care practitioners are quickly becoming the health partner of choice for millions of Americans. By blending their clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management, they bring a comprehensive perspective and personal touch to health care.