District of Columbia Nurse Practitioner Licensure Guide - 2022

Nurse Practitioner Licensing Guide for the state of District of Columbia

Last Reviewed: October 4th, 2022

The Nurse Practitioner is one of the four careers under the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), which is an umbrella term for higher nursing licenses. The Nurse Practitioner (NP) license authorizes nurses to perform more advanced roles than Registered Nurses (RNs). These additional roles include:

  • Prescribing medication to patients 
  • Ordering, conducting, and analyzing medical examinations of patients
  • Collecting samples and information from patients 
  • Educating patients on complicated medical and treatment plans 

The NP performs these roles in addition to every duty that the RN can do. So, in many aspects the NP is an RN that operates like a physician. Apart from the difference in scope of practice, the NP earns more and requires more training than the RN. NPs also have more autonomy in their practice. Since becoming an NP is a step higher than the RN, the popular path is first to become an RN. Therefore, an RN needs to receive more advanced education and training to become an NP. 

To become a nurse practitioner in Washington DC, you will need to obtain the Nurse Practitioner license from the District of Columbia Board of Nursing (DCBON). The DCBON is responsible for regulating safe nursing practices in Washington DC. They set the requirements for the issuance of nursing licenses, screen and approve nursing licensing applications, and, if necessary, revoke licenses and apply disciplinary action against nurses. These roles aim to maintain confidence in the nursing profession by ensuring that nursing practice in Washington DC remains safe and professional. 

The DCBON is not part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC). The NLC is a pact between states that allows licensed nurses to practice in any party state without acquiring an additional license. Therefore, if you get your license in Washington DC, you must apply for additional licensure to practice in any other state.