NP's focus largely on health maintenance, disease prevention, counseling and patient education in a wide variety of settings. With a strong emphasis on primary care, nurse practitioners are employed within several specialties, including neonatology, nurse-midwifery, pediatrics, school health, family and adult health, women's health, mental health, home care, geriatrics and acute care.
Nurse practitioners are educated through programs that grant a master's degree. A registered nurse is recommended to have extensive clinical experience before applying to a nurse practitioner program. An intensive preceptorship under the direct supervision of a physician or an experienced nurse practitioner, as well as instruction in nursing theory, are key components to most NP programs.