There are four distinct nursing professions in New York State: Registered Professional Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Licensed Practical Nurse and Nurse Practitioner.
A professional nurse working.

A Registered Professional Nurse (RN) may:

  • perform health assessments;
  • diagnose and treat a patient’s unique responses to diagnosed health problems;
  • teach and counsel patients about their health;
  • execute medical regimens as prescribed by licensed physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and podiatrists; and
  • contribute as members of interdisciplinary health care teams and health related committees to plan and implement health care.

A Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is an RN who has completed advanced clinical nursing education (usually a master's degree) and is certified by New York State as a clinical nurse specialist. New York certifies CNSs in the following specialties: Adult Health; Pediatrics; Oncology; and Psychiatry/Mental Health.

A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is an RN who has earned a separate license as an NP through advanced clinical nursing education (usually a master's degree) in a distinct specialty area of practice. Nurse practitioners may diagnose, treat, and prescribe for a patient’s condition that falls within their specialty area of practice. Nurse practitioner specialty areas include: Acute Care; Adult Health; College Health; Community Health; Family Health; Gerontology; Holistic Nursing; Neonatology; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Oncology; Palliative Care; Pediatrics; Perinatology; Psychiatry; School Health; and Women's Health.

A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) provides skilled nursing care tasks and procedures under the direction of an RN, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, physician, or other authorized health care provider.

Read more about the nursing professions.

Last Updated: May 23, 2017