Nurse Practitioner (NP) Resources

A nurse practitioner with a patient.

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are an important part of the solution to reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke in the United States.

According  to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, NPs are nurses who have completed a master’s or doctoral degree program and have advanced clinical training beyond their initial professional registered nurse preparation. NPs are licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and practice care based on the rules and regulations of the state in which they are licensed.

NPs, state law makers, and policy analysts can use these resources and tools to provide improved patient care.

NP Scope of Practice (SOP)

Scope of practice (SOP) describes the services that qualified health professionals are considered able and allowed to perform based on their professional licenses.

After the release of a 2010 report, the Institute of Medicine (IOM)a and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing endorsed a Full Practice Authority (FPA) SOP, allowing NPs to perform independently to the full extent of their licensure and training.

As of April 2016, 21 states and the District of Columbia had laws in effect authorizing NP FPA,  and an additional 8 states authorized NP FPA after a transition-to-practice period working under the supervision of a physician or NP.1

aRenamed as the Health and Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

More Information


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Law Fact Sheet. A Summary of Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice Laws, In Effect April 2016. Atlanta, GA. US Dept. Health and Human Services; 2018.