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Nevada: Nurse Practitioner Rules and Regulations

Career News September 15, 2013


To become a nurse practitioner in the State of Nevada, an applicant needs to have a mixture of certified nursing status, as well as a specific higher education degree. To begin, any consideration of approval requires an applicant to have already completed some type of recognized advanced nurse practice training, i.e. certification as a registered nurse or RN. This is typically accomplished in the form of a Master of Science in Nursing degree from an accredited college or university.

Applicants must then be certified to work as a nurse practitioner by a recognized national industry association prior to Nevada State considering the applicant. Only then can the applicant apply for Nevada’s certificate of advanced practitioner in nursing from the Nevada State Board of Nursing. Once approved, the applicant can work anywhere in Nevada state as an advanced practitioner of nursing. This includes hospitals, as well as clinics and education centers.

Nurse Practitioner vs. Physician Assistant: What’s the Difference?

According to Touro University in Nevada, the physician assistant in Nevada is the right arm of the physician, usually performing three-fourths of the work a family physician would be responsible for. This includes patient physical exams, lab work, direct suture treatment, surgery assistance, prescription writing, diagnosis, and x-ray examination. On a daily basis, the physician assistant is working directly with the physician in charge on the details of a patient’s progress, referring many of the final decisions to the physician, but implementing those decisions in person.

The nurse practitioner, like other states, functions in a far more general, independent setting. The practitioner still often works and coordinates with medical professionals, but not in a direct reporting sense. Instead, many practitioners are responsible for being hospital and clinic office managers, being in charge of multiple nurses and support staff for hospital branch.

Nevada: Nurse Practitioners At-a-Glance

Number of NPs: 718

NPs per 100,000 populations: 26

Who governs/grants licenses to NPs: The Nevada State Board of Nursing

Do you need to be an RN? Yes

Do you need a Master of Science in Nursing to become a NP? Yes, this became a hard requirement in Nevada after 2005.

Are there other requirements? Applicants also need to have established national industry certification in advanced nursing practice prior to applying for the same certification in Nevada State.

How much does a Nurse Practitioner earn in Nevada? According to, a nurse practitioner’s average salary brings in $90,000 annually, which will vary by location. Rural areas will earn less than urban areas such as Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada. Some other sources peg the average salary a bit lower at $80,000 annually.

Do NPs need a physician’s supervision for diagnosis and treatment? Yes

Do NPs need a physician’s supervision to prescribe medication? No

Applicants need to be approved by the state nursing board and have completed at least two semester credits (or equivalent quarter hours) in advanced pharmacotherapeutics. If an applicant doesn’t have a master’s degree, then she has to complete 1,000 hours of active practice in the two immediate prior years.

Are there drug classifications that NPs cannot prescribe? Nurse practitioners in Nevada are not allowed to prescribe Schedule I narcotics. They are allowed to prescribe medicines that fall into Schedule II through V categories.

Nevada: Nurse Practitioner Outlook

The desert state has seen a lot of growth in terms of both retirees looking for a warmer place to spend later years, as well as the building boom that was going on in the state up until 2008. As a result, the state’s health system has been impacted tremendously, particularly in Reno and Las Vegas. Millions of dollars have been invested in major hospitals, with a number of locations now known for advanced medical practice unavailable in other states in the West. However, with the economy drop, the state has experienced its own financial impacts on the industry, and this is with Nevada’s harsher law that automatically makes recognized next of kin responsible for cost of medical care of patients who can’t pay the full bill.

On independent reports, the State of Nevada has been marked as “needing improvement.” One of these aspects where the state’s health system can leverage better productivity is in the expanded use of nurse practitioners to take the load off of traditional physicians, as well as the cost off of medical providers.

If the state’s health providers follow through on the above improvements, as well as the growing demand of Baby Boomers on the health system, there will be a growing need for trained and certified nurse practitioners in Nevada. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated growth of seventeen to twenty percent nationally may be on the conservative side for Nevada, if the state can license enough nurses.

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