(noun): the granting of formal permission from a governmental or other constituted authority to do something, as to carry on some business or profession.

Washington State:

1 of 31 states and districts who license CNSs, 1 of 28 who allow CNSs to practice independently, and one of 21 who  allow CNSs prescriptive authority.* The state grants licensure to 4 types of Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners in keeping with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Consensus Model: Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Anesthetists and Nurse Midwives.

The Washington State Department of Health has a detailed "Frequently Asked Questions" page that addresses licensure requirements, how to apply and how to obtain prescriptive authority.

Here are some general facts to keep in mind:

  • The process for licensure is the first step in being able to prescribe and bill for services in the state, and is required by some employers. 
  • Before applying, decide if you will be requesting prescriptive authority.
    • The requirements for the ability are 30 hours of pharmacology continuing education within the last 2 years.
    • Being a prescribing provider can increase your scope of practice within an organization.
    • Prescriptive authority also increases your liability in cases of malpractice, which means your insurance premiums will be higher.
  • After licensure, you are able to apply for a National Provider Identifier (NPI) through the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System, which is required for credentialing and billing.

*National Council of State Boards of Nursing, obtained 8/3/2017,

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