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Nurse Practitioners: A look at practice authority

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Nurse practitioners (NPs) have different levels of practice authority across the US.  Full Practice Authority (FPA) allows nurse practitioners to practice within their full scope including evaluating patients, diagnose, order, and interpret diagnostic tests, and initiate and manage treatments including prescribing medications (AANP, 2021).  Full Practice authority allows NPs to practice independently without oversight by a physician or state medical board.

Nurse practitioner education programs and accreditation and board certification follow national standards, however, state laws and legislative bodies license NP practice in each state.

When taking on a case as an NP expert witness, it is important to note that if you work and practice in a state that does not have full practice authority, you likely will not qualify as an expert on a case in a state that has full authority.

States and U.S. territories that have adopted the Full Practice Authority laws include:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wyoming


American Association of Nurse Practitioners (2021). Issues at a Glance: Full Practice Authority retrieved from

Hill, G. & Hill, K. (2021). Legal Dictionary. Retrieved from