Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Licensing Bodies
Upon completion of an accredited Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program, you’ll be eligible to sit for National Certification Corporation’s Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner examination. Find the full details of the examination and how to apply for it here
The first steps to becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP) are earning a degree as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and becoming a registered nurse (RN) by passing the National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurses (NCLEX – RN). Many aspiring women’s health nurse practitioners spend 1-2 years working as registered nurses to gain valuable experience before applying to a master’s degree program in nursing. Once enrolled in a master’s program, future women’s health nurse practitioners concentrate on subjects like reproductive health and newborn care to become an advanced practice nurse. Other types of advanced practice nurses besides women’s health nurse practitioners include nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. Click here for more information about women’s health nurse practitioner education programs.
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Role
Women’s health nurse practitioner roles range from providing care to new mothers and newborns, to screening sexually transmitted diseases and infections, and to advising women through the stages of menopause. With a directed focus on reproductive and gynecologic health needs, the WHNP may work out of their own practice or side-by-side with obstetrician-gynecologists, psychologists, pediatricians, physicians, and geriatricians; because of the particular knowledge gained through years of specialized training, the WHNP is an invaluable asset to any team that provides health care to women.
Some women’s health nurse practitioners take on a role more heavily involved with diagnosis-treatment, while others function as advisers to women who want to plan a healthy pregnancy by offering advice from pre-conception through to the postpartum period. In short, the WHNP is not defined by any single role and may provide health care to women of all ages in a variety of valuable ways.
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice
A women’s health nurse practitioner provides primary health care services to women of all ages, generally beginning at adolescence and continuing through pregnancy and menopause. The WHNP has a specific specialization in obstetrics and gynecology, but also engages with a wide scope of women’s health issues such as eating disorders, well-woman care, health education, prenatal care, contraceptive counseling, episodic or chronic illnesses, and STDs.
The WHNP also has the opportunity to meet these challenges in a variety of different clinical settings. Women’s health nurse practitioners work in hospitals, OB-GYN clinics, family planning clinics, Planned Parenthood, women’s health clinics, prenatal clinics, women’s prisons, and private practices.
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National Certification Corporation (NCC) (Source: NCC)
Eligibility RequirementsActive RN license, masters degree or higher in an approved women’s health nurse practitioner program
Certification ProcessInitial application, followed by examination (offered both once-a-year as a written examination in September, and year-round as a computer-based examination)
Fees$250 for written examination online application/$275 for written examination mailed application/$300 for computer-based examination online application/$325 for computer-based examination mailed application
Renewal$100 fee, 45 continuing education contact hours, every 3 years; reductions in the free are available through specified continuing education courses
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