Nurse Practitioners are advanced-practice registered nurses. In addition to the traditional RN degree, these professionals also have a postgraduate degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing. They are able to diagnose, monitor and treat minor and chronic illnesses, injuries and diseases. In 18 out of the 50 states and in the District of Columbia, Nurse Practitioners (NPs) can practice and prescribe medication without the oversight of a physician. Arizona is one of these states.
Nurse Practitioner vs. Physician’s Assistant: What’s the Difference
Both Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants work in a variety of healthcare fields, from clinics to hospitals. They can treat illness, prescribe medications and perform many similar roles to a doctor. Because of these similarities, some people think they are the same thing, but there are some definite differences. The training and background of these professionals is different.
Nurse Practitioners are RNs with a master or doctorate degree. These professionals will have extensive clinical experience before pursuing the NP field. They typically focus on health maintenance, disease prevention, patient education and counseling
Physician Assistants are trained to diagnose illnesses, provide therapy and perform preventative healthcare services. They are not RNs or nurses, but a different type of medical professional. They typically work as part of a health care team, and may take medical histories, treat patients or examine patients. They can also order labs and x-rays. Physician Assistants always work with a physician, whereas NPs may work independently in some states.
Arizona: Nurse Practitioners At-a-Glance
Number of NPs: 4,053
NPs per 100,000 populations: 56
Who governs/grants licenses to NPs: Arizona State Board of Nursing
Do you need to be an RN? Yes
Do you need a Master of Science in Nursing degree to become a NP? Yes, as of January 1, 2001, a Master of Science in Nursing or similar degree is required to become an Arizona Nurse Practitioner.
Are there other requirements? Yes, as of July 1, 2004, all new applications for Arizona Nurse Practitioner must have a transcript from their educational institution and verification of national certification.
How much does a Nurse Practitioner earn in Arizona? $81,000 (Salaries vary based on the employment setting, geographic location, educational background and years of experience)
Do NPs need a physician’s supervision for diagnosis and treatment? No, Arizona is one of the states that allow NPs to work independently of a doctor, although they are required by law to consult with a physician, if a case is outside of their expertise.
Do NPs need a physician’s supervision to prescribe medication? No, NPs in Arizona can prescribe medication without a physician’s supervision.
Are there drug classifications that NPs cannot prescribe? No, nurse practitioners in Arizona can prescribe controlled substances in Schedule II – V.
Arizona: Nurse Practitioner Outlook
According to Community Catalyst, an important health care advocacy organization, Arizona is doing an excellent job of allowing nurse practitioners to do their job without undue restrictions. This is due to the state’s policy of allowing NPs to diagnose and prescribe medications without physician oversight. With policies like these, Arizona is allowing more of its resident access to affordable, accessible health care.
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