Nurse Practitioner Programs in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Registered Nurse Practitioners (RNPs) are recognized as independent providers. They have a scope of practice that includes assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. The scope of practice also includes health promotion and preventative care; healthcare providers with nursing backgrounds are often very good at providing holistic care.

Rhode Island is classified as a full practice state by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Although the state’s nurse practitioners are not mandated to maintain formal supervisory or collaborative relationships with physicians, they, like other healthcare professionals, refer patients to other providers when indicated.

Those who opt for a general care or primary care focus can choose from varied options, ranging from convenience clinics like Minute Clinic to community health centers that provide care to underserved populations. They can opt for innovative new models like those that deliver primary care in home settings. A study carried out by the University of Rhode Island found that enhanced primary care provided in home settings could greatly reduce the need for emergency room visits and hospital admissions ( 2018 finds multiple organizations advertising for professionals who can provide disease management services in the home.

Some nurse practitioners opt for specialty settings where they may work closely with other professionals. Nationwide, specialty practice can mean taking on more of a physician extender role. Some nurse practitioners are hired to carry out specialized tasks, like those involving health risk assessment. Acute care is another viable option.

Primary care is such as area of need that multiple organizations have collaborated to provide a loan repayment program for nurse practitioners and physician assistants who are recruited to Rhode Island (

Rhode Island nurse practitioners earned an average salary of $52.23 in 2017; this is $108,630 when figured on a full-time basis.

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Nurse Practitioner Programs in Rhode Island

#1: The University of Rhode Island offers multiple tracks with MSN and DNP options. One innovative URI program has been in the news recently. The school is using grant money to provide a realistic simulation experience for primary care provision in home health settings. There are actors behind the one-way glass – and an apartment-style lab complete with life-like clutter.

#2: Rhode Island College offers one CCNE-accredited nurse practitioner track: adult-gerontology; the program provides an emphasis on acute care.

Nurse Practitioner Education

A prospective nurse practitioner will complete a graduate degree program. The content must be consistent with the population focus. According to state code, the program must meet the requirements of the national certification agency. There are multiple accepted agencies; agency and examination will be determined by the population focus. Rhode Island recognizes the following classifications:

  • Adult/gerontology
  • Family/individual across the lifespan
  • Neonatal
  • Pediatric
  • Psychiatric/mental health
  • Women’s health/gender related

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers certifications in most, though not all, of the population foci recognized by the Rhode Island Board. There is considerable similarity in ANCC nurse practitioner requirements across population foci: The candidate must complete a CCNE- or ACEN-accredited program at at least the master’s level, one that is specific to the population and that includes coursework in health promotion and disease management. The program must include discrete courses in health assessment, pharmacology, and physiology and at least 500 clinical hours with the target population. Psychiatric/ mental health NP eligibility requirements carry the added stipulation that the candidate will have clinical training in a minimum of two psychotherapeutic modalities.

Rhode Island has two CCNE-accredited programs. There are, as of 2018, no ACEN-accredited nurse practitioner programs located in the state.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) options are both common. The CCNE has published multiple documents of standards and guidelines ( CCNE-accredited MSN programs include core master’s nursing coursework such as assimilation of research. CCNE-accredited DNP programs are held to a set of core nursing standards that provides more depth. Students have a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours; a goal is to provide experiences that will offer preparation for highly complex situations. DNP students complete a substantive final project.

Students can search for clinical preceptors on the site of the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Rhode Island (

A student who is interested in an online program that is offered by a school physically located in another state will likely want to make sure that the school can provide supervision for field placements that are located in his or her own community.

There are two types of DNP program: BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP. If a nurse opts to earn nurse practitioner credentialing with a degree at the master’s level, he or she can resume studies later and earn the terminal degree. The caveat: It can take longer to complete two separate programs.

The University of Rhode Island offers a DNP program with an option of earning an MSN along the way. Post-master DNP classes at the URI include evidenced-based program evaluation, epidemiology, and informatics, among others.

Some newly credentialed nurse practitioners seek residency programs where they can hone their skills.

(More: Nurse Practitioner requirements in Rhode Island)

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