Nurse Practitioners

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Nurse Practitioners

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Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses (RNs) with additional educational preparation and experience who possess and demonstrate the competencies to autonomously order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe pharmaceuticals and perform specific procedures within the legislated scope of practice.

Please refer to Regulated Nurses: Canadian Trends, 2005 to 2009 for more detailed information.

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Practice Setting

Working in collaboration with other health care professionals, NPs provide care in diverse health settings, from community clinics and health centres to hospitals, medical practices, nursing homes and home-care settings.


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Regulatory Environment

The table below indicates the first year in which it became mandatory for NPs to register with a provincial/territorial regulatory body as a condition of practice.


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Practice Criteria

To work/practise as a NP in Canada, one must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a registered nurse.
  • Hold either a nurse practitioner post-baccalaureate certificate, a nurse practitioner postgraduate certificate and/or a nurse practitioner graduate degree.
  • Pass an entry-to-practice exam that might vary depending on the area of specialty. The exam(s) to be taken are determined by the nursing regulatory body.
  • Register with a provincial/territorial regulatory body as required.

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Education Requirements

A master’s degree or a post-baccalaureate certificate is currently the entry-to-practice requirement for a NP in Canada. The following table provides a comprehensive list of NP programs.

Internationally Educated NPs

To practise in Canada, an internationally educated NP must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a registered nurse.
  • Contact the relevant regulatory body within the chosen province/territory for assessment and recognition of credentials, including language proficiency for registration and other licensing requirements.
  • Pass an entry-to-practice exam that might vary depending on the area of specialty. The exam(s) to be taken are determined by the nursing regulatory body.
  • Register with a provincial/territorial regulatory body as required.

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Supply Trends


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Demographic Trends


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Graduate Trends


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