Become an NP

One significant way to advance your nursing education and clinical practice is to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP). An NP is a RN with advanced university education who provides a full range of health-care services to individuals, families and communities in a variety of settings including hospitals and community-based clinics in cities and smaller towns in Ontario.

The role expands on the practices that have traditionally been outside of the RN scope of practice, including:

  • diagnosing and treating common acute illnesses
  • performing physical check-ups
  • managing stable chronic illnesses
  • prescribing certain medications
  • ordering and interpreting specific lab tests and X-rays
  • making referrals

NPs work in partnership with physicians, nurses and other health-care professionals with a focus on preventing disease, promoting good health and curing illness. NPs work in four specialties: primary health care, adult and pediatric care and anaesthesia.

To learn more, check out the Nurse Practitioner Association of Ontario.

How do I become an NP?

The Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Education (PHCNP) in Ontario is delivered by a consortium of nine universities under COUPN (Council of Ontario University Programs in Nursing). For more information check out, Nurse Practitioner — Education.

Full-time students will complete the PHCNP certificate program in just one calendar year.

Did you know — completed PHCNP certificate courses are approved for credit for a Masters degree at each of the consortium universities!

A few other advanced practice programs:

University of Toronto, Master of Nursing/ACNP Diploma

The Master of Nursing Program offers a combined Master of Nursing degree with an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) field of study online and a Post Master's ACNP Diploma for learners who have a relevant graduate degree. The ACNP program offers two specialty areas of practice ACNP adult and ACNP child.

See the University of Toronto Nurse Practitioner site for more information.

McMasterUniversity Diploma Program, Advanced Neonatal Nursing
The McMaster Graduate Diploma Program in Advanced Neonatal Nursing is a graduate level advanced nursing practice specialty program offered within the Faculty of Health Sciences and sponsored by the Office of the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies (Health Sciences).

Part-time studies and funding

Not able to take a full year off to become a NP? Some universities offer a part-time study option, which gives students up three years to complete the courses. Search among the list to find one that works for you.

Need financial assistance? In Ontario, the Grow Your Own Nurse Practitioner (GYO NP) Initiative, is a program specifically developed to fill vacancies among government funded NP positions. Through it, sponsoring organizations can use government funds currently allocated to a primary health care NP position to sponsor a local RN to obtain an NP education. The funding is used to pay the RN’s salary and benefits while in school, and to reimburse education-related expenses. In exchange, the new NP must agree to a return of service commitment to the agency.

Look for a list of interested organizations at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Learn more about Nurse Practitioners at: