A women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP) is an educated and experienced nurse practitioner who focuses on offering primary care services to women of all ages. In order to become a WHNP, nurses must first complete an education as a registered nurse, and then go on to advanced studies in order to become a nurse practitioner. It is during these studies that students can choose to specialize in women’s health and go on to complete clinical, hands on experience with female patients.
It is important to note that a women’s health nurse practitioner is different from a certified nurse-midwife (CNM). While CNMs tend to focus on childbearing, from conception to delivery, a WHNP follows the entire lifespan of women’s health and does so most often in a primary care office setting, rather than a hospital or delivery room. Further, while the two paths share some educational similarities, the specializations and post-degree steps will differ: a CNM must now complete an AMCB-accredited, specialized MSN or DNP degree prior to becoming certified as a nurse-midwife, while a WHNP must complete an NCC-accredited, specialized MSN or DNP degree prior to pursuing a license to practice as a nurse practitioner.