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What is a NP?
A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is a legal title for a nurse who has completed advanced education and training in a specific area of practice. To become an NP a registered nurse must meet Nursing Council of New Zealand requirements and gain formal NP registration.
Nurse Practitioners are expert nurses who work within a specific area of practice incorporating advanced knowledge and skills into their practice. They practice both independently (assuming full clinical responsibility for patients) and in collaboration with other health professionals to promote health, prevent disease and manage people’s health needs. They provide a wide range of assessment and treatment interventions, including diagnoses, ordering and interpreting diagnostic and laboratory tests, administering treatments/therapies, admitting and discharging from hospital. They work in partnership with individuals, families, whanau and communities across a range of settings.
The Area of Practice of an NP may be either:
Broad, providing a broad range of services eg general practice, mental health; chronic disease management; older persons health, or
Specialised, providing specialized consultative services and direct clinical care to more complex patients eg, diabetes, cardiac care, neo-natal care; urology; ophthalmology, palliative care. To find out about current NP numbers and areas of practice go to the section on Information for Employers or HWNZ
- Whilst NPs are relatively new in NZ they have existed in other countries for many years.
- There are now NPs in over 40 countries, including Australia, Ireland, England, the USA and Canada.
- Since the role was introduced in NZ in 2001, increasing numbers of NPs have started working across a range of specialties.
- NPs offer an alternative and highly effective model of health care delivery.
- The NP model of practice allows for greater substitution between clinical roles thereby promoting efficiency and flexibility in the use of valuable resources.