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A nurse practitioner (NP, ARNP, or APN) is a registered nurse (RN) who has completed additional graduate education, either a masters or a doctorate degree in nursing.  They have advanced education and clinical training to diagnose, treat and prescribe and perform medical and cosmetic procedures on patients of all ages.  Nurse practitioners practice autonomously, and often with the guidance of a collaborating physician.  The core philosophy of the field is individualized care.  Nurse practitioners focus on patient's conditions as well as the effects of illness on the lives of the patients and their families.  NPs make prevention, wellness and patient education priorities.  They are licensed by the state in which they practice and many also have national certifications.