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Should I Become a Licensed Primary Care Nurse Practitioner? Four Questions To Consider

A Licensed Primary Care Nurse Practitioner career offers a unique pathway for registered nurses interested in becoming Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. A Licensed Primary Care Nurse Practitioner career can open new and exciting doors in patient care. Explore these four questions and see whether the career is right for you.


Is Becoming A Licensed Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Right For Me?

By clicking on this article, you have already considered this question. Of the many different education and certification paths you could pursue as a nurse, you landed on Licensed Primary Care Nurse Practitioner for a reason. Maybe it’s because of the patient population you’ll be working with, your workload, the impact on your personal and family life, or the type of care you’ll be administering. No matter your reasoning, a Licensed Primary Care Nurse Practitioner career is a great way to expand your nursing skills and break into a rewarding Advanced Practice Registered Nurse career.

If you have not considered this question – or if you are still on the fence and unsure of whether becoming a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner is right for you, here are a couple of things to consider:

  1. Licensed Primary Care Nurse Practitioners work closely with patients in a primary care setting to help identify, diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases.
  2. There are multiple certification areas to consider. Primary Care Practitioners can enter family, psychiatric, gerontology, or neonatal care as a Primary Care Practitioner. The most common specialty for NPs entering the field is Adult-Gerontology, offering the widest care population.
  3. Nurse Practitioners work closely with registered nurses and physicians to administer care. In many cases, NPs share many but not all of the same privileges as a physician, with the key difference between the two being the scope of their practice and the education/certification level.
  4. Licensed Primary Care Nurse Practitioners can work in multiple healthcare settings – including primary care offices, community clinics, long-term care facilities, and hospice centers. While some Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Practitioners work in hospitals, it does require additional certification. Less than half of all AGNPs in Primary Care work in a hospital setting.
  5. A Master of Science in Nursing opens new doors for nurses to consider earning their Doctor of Nursing Practice or additional certifications to enhance their practice area.


The University of Providence’s Master of Science in Nursing AGNP program prepares currently licensed registered nurses like you with the foundational knowledge, clinical experience, and evidence-based practice competencies you need to succeed as a Licensed Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. Learn more about our program, including key outcomes, skills, curriculum, and more on our program webpage.


Am I Ready To Return To Nursing School?

Returning to nursing school can be difficult – especially for those who must balance multiple commitments while completing required courses and practicum hours. When considering whether to return to school, it is important to consider not the impact that returning to school will have on your current home and work schedule. Fully researching and understanding what will be required of you, how much time it will take, and when you’ll be asked to do it are all key factors that should be considered. If you’re on the fence about returning, here are some questions you may way to research:

  1. How long is the program, and what will be expected of me when completing it?
  2. What is the course delivery/will I have to complete any in-person practicum or clinical hours?
  3. Is the program accredited, and will the program prepare me for certification?


Program transparency is important to the University of Providence’s Masters of Science in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program and all other nursing degree programs. The AGNP program at UP is specifically tailored for currently licensed Registered Nurses with full-time work commitments. Our 24-month program pairs online asynchronous coursework with in-person practicum hours, providing a well-rounded education that prepares you to deliver quality patient care.


Am I Aware Of The Certification Process?

Once you complete your graduate program, you must receive certification through a certifying agency. There are two primary certifying agencies a recent graduate of an AGNP program can pursue – the American Nursing Credential Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Passing either of these exams will certify your knowledge as an NP.

While passing either exam will certify you as a Licensed Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, there is a difference between these boards and their certification. Those who pass the ANCC board will receive their APCNP-BC credential, while those who pass the AANP exam will receive their A-GNP certification. The primary difference between the two is that the ANCC issues a board certification, whereas the AANP issues a certification. Nursing Journal recommends that those wishing to pursue a clinical career take the AANP certification over the ANCC certification, primarily focused on teaching and research.


What Can I Expect From The University of Providence’s AGNP Program?

The AGNP program at the University of Providence is ideal for working nurses who wish to advance their careers in nursing. Our 24-month program combines online, asynchronous courses with in-person, student-facilitated practicum hours to prepare nurses for a rewarding career in Advanced-Practice Nursing. Graduates of our program will go on to serve as Licensed Primary Care Nurse Practitioners in a variety of non-acute care healthcare settings. They will open new and exciting career doors with the opportunity to advance their learning with additional certifications or a DNP program.

If you’re considering returning to school to become a Licensed Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, the University of Providence’s program will help you reach your goals and more.