Nurse practitioners are licensed providers who may practice autonomously and/or in coordination with health care professionals and other individuals. They provide primary and/or specialty nursing and medical care in ambulatory, acute and long-term care settings. NPs are registered nurses with specialized, advanced education and clinical practice competency to provide health care for diverse populations in a variety of primary care, acute and long-term care settings. Masters, post-masters or doctoral preparation and national board certification is required for entry-level practice.
The links to the right lead to maps showing a comparison of all states and territories for the following policy areas:
1) Practice authority.
2) Prescriptive authority.
3) Nurse practitioners identified as primary care providers.
4) Authority to sign provider orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) forms.
Choose a tab to explore different options. For more detailed information, please click on a state or territory.
Provider orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) are medical orders that outline emergency interventions for a patient. These orders can be sent to health care facilities and other providers, including emergency medical services. POLST differ from advance directives in that they are specific medical orders from a provider instead of directions and wishes from a patient. The purpose of POLST forms is to ensure that an order is in place, upon discussion with the patient, to allow a provider to give specific treatments during an emergency. POLST forms are meant to complement, not replace, advance directives. Terminology for POLST may vary across states (e.g., medical orders for life-sustaining treatment, medical order for scope of treatment, transportable physician orders for patient preference, etc.).
States are moving to make these medical orders portable between providers and facilities if a person chooses to switch providers. Historically, physicians were the only medical provider allowed to fill out and sign POLST forms. States are examining allowing advanced practice registered nurses to have authority to sign POLST form to ensure people in rural and underserved areas have access to these orders.