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Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner - Role & Scope

Iowa Administrative Code, Nursing Board [655], chapter 7 provides information on the professional role, scope of practice, licensure, and educational requirements for the Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) practicing in Iowa.

Professional Role and Scope of Practice

In Iowa, an ARNP may provide healthcare services to Iowans of all ages in primary and/or ambulatory, acute, and long-term settings. The ARNP practices within their scope of practice based upon their educational background and the standards and guidelines established by their national certifying body (i.e. American Nurses Credentialing Center, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners).

The specialty areas of nursing practice for the ARNP in Iowa are Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist, Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Nurse practitioner and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.

In Iowa, an ARNP may practice independently. However, an ARNP may have a collaborative agreement with a physician or physicians if their practice so warrants, but this agreement is not a requirement of the Iowa Board of Nursing.

The following services and functions may be performed by the ARNP practicing in Iowa (this list is not all-inclusive):

  • Assessment of health status
  • Obtain a relevant health and medical history
  • Perform physical examinations
  • Order preventive and diagnostic procedures based on the patient’s age and history
  • Formulate differential diagnosis
  • Develop a treatment plan
  • Develop a patient education plan
  • Receive third party reimbursement
  • Maintain hospital privileges.
  • Promote health maintenance


Current licensure as a Registered Nurse is mandatory for advanced nursing practice in Iowa. In addition, an advanced level certification by a national professional nursing certifying body, recognized by the Board, is required for licensure as an ARNP.

Licensure with the Iowa Board of Nursing at the advanced level permits the nurse to use the title Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and authorizes the nurse to prescribe substances or devices, including controlled substances. The ARNP shall have the authority to prescribe when engaged in the practice of a nursing specialty regulated under the rules adopted by the Board of Nursing.  

Registration as a practitioner with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Board of Pharmacy Examiners permits the Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner to prescribe controlled substances within the practitioner’s recognized specialty.  

  • In order to obtain a DEA number the provider must be licensed as an ARNP.  Application forms for DEA numbers may be obtained from the Pharmacy Board website.

To renew licensure as an ARNP in Iowa:

  • Renewal shall be for the same period of licensure to practice as a registered nurse.  Click this link for: Licensure information
  • There shall be documentation of current time-dated, advanced level certification by an appropriate national certifying body.


Graduation from a Board approved Advanced Practice Master of Science in Nursing program or completion of a formal Advanced Practice education program is required for licensure as an ARNP. Advanced Practice Doctoral preparation is also an acceptable method for licensure.

A registered nurse in Iowa may practice at the level of his/her advanced preparation without licensure as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner.  Without licensure, the individual may not use the title ARNP, and does not have prescriptive authority.  The nurse, employer and the physician make the determination regarding policies and procedures to make prescriptive substances and devices available to clients.

The complete list of Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Programs approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing is included in the following weblink: List of approved ARNP programs

Revised 12/2014