Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are RNs with a graduate degree in Advanced Nursing Practice, and an expanded scope of practice that includes diagnosing, prescribing treatments, and managing health conditions.
They work one-on-one with their patients and with other healthcare providers to support injury and disease prevention and reduce overall pressure on the healthcare system.
NPs first appeared in Canada in the 1960s, providing care in rural and remote areas. In the mid 1960s and early 1970s, there were four driving forces for implementing the NP role:
- Introduction of universal, publicly funded medical insurance
- A perceived physician shortage
- Increased emphasis on primary health care
- Trend toward medical specialization