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Nurse practitioner

A nurse practitioner (NP) is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) classified as a mid-level practitioner. A nurse practitioner is trained to assess patient needs, order and interpret diagnostic and laboratory tests, diagnose illness and disease, prescribe medication and formulate treatment plans. NP training covers basic disease prevention, coordination of care, and health promotion, but does not provide the depth of expertise needed to recognize more complex cases in which multiple symptoms suggest more serious conditions. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, a nurse practitioner is educated at the masters or doctoral level to provide "primary, acute, chronic, and specialty care to patients of all ages and all walks of life". In United States, nurse practitioners have been lobbying for independent practice. The opponents of independent practice have argued that nurse practitioner education is "flimsy," because it can consist of online coursework with few hours of actual patient contact. The number of patient contact hours in nurse practitioner training is less than or equal to 3% of physician training.