Family nurse practitioners are advanced practiced nurses who serve as primary health care providers for patients of all ages. They diagnose and treat medical illnesses. They educate patients, focusing on prevention of disease and optimizing health.
Registered nurses can become family nurse practitioners by obtaining specialized course work at the Master’s or Doctoral degree level. It is proposed that the minimal educational for Nurse Practitioners be increased to the Doctorate of Nursing level of preparation by 2015. That would require additional rulings by individual state governments.