The Dermatology Nurses' Association
Nurses serving nurses for more than 30 years!

NP Society of DNA

Dermatology Nurse Practitioner FAQs


What is a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner?
A Dermatology NP holds a Masters or Doctoral degree in the Science of Nursing, is licensed within his/her state as an advanced practice nurse, is board certified by the AANP or ANCC, and specializes in the practice of dermatology. Many NP's in dermatology also become certified in dermatology by the Dermatology Nursing Certification Board (DNCB) by successfully fulfilling the educational, practice, and written examination requirements. Dermatology NP's work in dermatology clinics, academic settings, and specialty clinics across the country with other dermatology nursing and physician specialists.

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What does the Clinical Practice of Dermatology NP's entail?
Medical Dermatology involves the evaluation, diagnosis, planning, and treatment of cutaneous presentations, conditions, and diseases which affect the skin, hair, and nails. Pathology will range from common conditions like acne or eczema to more complex presentations such as bullous disease or cutaneous lymphoma. Sub-specialties in dermatology practice include pediatric, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology.

Dermatology NPs identify the patient’s need for dermatologic care using comprehensive assessment and diagnostic reasoning to elicit relevant data about a patient’s condition. The process includes conducting a comprehensive health history, medication review, and the interpretation of laboratory studies and pathology reports to establish a differential diagnosis. The NP consults and refers to dermatologists, dermatopathologists, dermatology surgeons, oncologists, rheumatologists, primary care providers, and many other health care professionals as appropriate to provide comprehensive care.

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What formal education is required in order to become a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner?
A Dermatology NP holds a Masters or Doctoral degree in the Science of Nursing, is licensed within his/her state as an advanced practice nurse, is board certified by the AANP or ANCC, and specializes in the practice of dermatology. Currently, there is no specific formal education required to specialize in dermatology practice.

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I am a Family Nurse Practitioner and looking into specializing in Dermatology. Are there specific training requirements in order to become a Dermatology NP?
No, there aren’t. The education and amount of training is determined by individual physicians and NPs. The vast majority of NPs enter dermatology practice with little formal education and no training in dermatology. There is currently only one full time fellowship program available in the nation to obtain advanced NP training and education in dermatology, so it is imperative for NPs entering the field to be willing to seek out & invest in as much focused dermatology training opportunities as possible. An excellent training resource is available to NPs who attend the annual Dermatology Nurses’ Association (DNA) Convention Workshops and core courses.

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Is there a formal Dermatology NP Residency Program in the U.S.?
Advanced practice nursing dermatology programs are being developed in several areas of the country. The programs listed below are for informational purposes only for those seeking post-graduate training and not an endorsement by the NP Society of the DNA. Current programs include:

The Lahey Clinic
Dermatology NP Fellowship
Burlington, Massachusetts

Per the Lahey Clinic Website: The Lahey Clinic has developed a unique, intensive, full-time fellowship program in the specialty of dermatology for certified nurse practitioners. (The) objective is to provide, in a one-year course, a thorough, didactic and clinical curriculum that will prepare trainees to become valuable providers in any dermatology setting.

University of South Florida
Specialty nursing residencies for DNP students
Tampa, Florida

Per the USF Website: The College of Nursing provides DNP students opportunities to develop an individualized DNP advanced nursing practice residency according to their certified nursing specialty, practice interests and professional goals. Students may apply for acceptance into one of the College of Nursing’s highly specialized DNP advanced nursing practice residency concentrations, including dermatology.

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How Do Dermatology NPs Obtain Continuing Education in Dermatology?
Dermatology NPs study and review texts written by renowned dermatologists including Habif, Fitzpatrick, Arndt, Lebwohl, Andrews, Herwitz, and Lever. Staying current in dermatologic treatments, procedures, and technologies requires regular review of newsletters and peer reviewed professional journals (such as the JAAD, Archives of Dermatology, Dermatology Surgery, JDNA, etc). The Discussions in Dermatology is an on-line NP-authored video-lecture series available to NP Society members of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association. It is helpful to attend the DNA Annual Convention and other dermatology focused medical and nursing meetings to supplement educational needs and to satisfy CME/CEU credits. In addition, Dermatology NPs aspire to make a difference in the field of dermatology by authoring and contributing to research and publications which will enlighten, educate, and inform other NPs with the same interest.

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Is there a Dermatology NP Certification Program? / How Do I Become Certified in Dermatology as a NP?
The Dermatology Nurse Certification Board (DNCB) established a Dermatology NP Certification examination in 2008. The Dermatology Nursing Certification Board has established the following registration requirements for candidates to sit for the Dermatology NP Certification exam. To become a dermatology certified nurse practitioner (DCNP), the DNCB requires that candidates meet all eligibility criteria at the time of application, complete the enclosed application form, submit all fees and successfully pass the certification examination. No individual shall be excluded from the opportunity to participate in the DCNP certification program on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability. To be eligible to participate in the examination, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Current NP State Licensure
  • Collaborative agreement with a board-certified dermatologist (evidence of collaborative agreement will need to be provided with application
  • Master's degree in nursing
  • National certification as a nurse practitioner
  • Minimum of 3,000 hours of general dermatology practice with current practice in dermatology (hours obtained from a formal dermatology NP academic program count towards the 3,000 hours)

The Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Society does hold to strict adherence to these guidelines as it seeks to assure the highest quality of care for the dermatology patient. The goal is to assure that experienced dermatology NPs work in clinical environments which provide on-going clinical support and continuing educational opportunities with board-certified dermatologists. Learn more about Certification.

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What are the advantages to becoming certified as a Derm NP?
Certification recognizes an individual nurse as having attained a level of expertise which is demonstrated by passing a valid and reliable standardized exam. Certification attests the individual’s knowledge and critical thinking skills in clinical decision making for a defined population. Certification identifies the nurse as possessing a recognized degree of proficiency in the stated area of clinical practice. Preparing for the certification test broadens your general dermatology knowledge so that you can more effectively and confidently address the needs of your patients.

Being certified says volumes about you as a professional. You might want to be certified for many different reasons. Perhaps you are seeking self-fulfillment or validation about your competency, or maybe you want to improve your self-esteem or your self-confidence. Most of all you are telling those around you that you are committed to maintaining your professionalism. Certification is a way to be dynamic in your chosen nursing specialty and helps you keep up with the trends. You will be a valuable asset to the professional health care team.

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I am interested in sitting for the Dermatology NP Certification Course. Is there a Study Guide or Class that I can take in order to prepare?
There are resources available at the DNA website under Certification.

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I am Family Nurse Practitioner that just began a new position as a Dermatology NP in a small private practice. What suggestions can you give for gaining knowledge in Dermatology as a novice NP?

  • Membership in the Dermatology Nurses’ Association (DNA).
  • Membership includes the: Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association (JDNA) a bimonthly publication free with membership;
  • The Discussions in Dermatology is an on-line NP-authored video-lecture series available to NP members of the DNA;
  • Annual conference with two day Nurse Practitioner Forum providing approximately 24 Advanced Practice contact hours at the NP Forum, a part of the DNA Annual Convention;
  • Continuing education opportunities
  • Multiple resources for NPs on the DNA Website.
  • Learn more about DNA membership or call 800-454-4DNA.

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Are there any resources as to how to negotiate a professional work contract as a Dermatology NP?
Please refer to the following sources:

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What is the typical “training” timeline with the collaborating physician?
That would completely depend on the education, experience, & skill set which the NP brings to the position, and on the practice type and practice style of the collaborating physician.

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What text books are typically used for reference or are most helpful for NPs in Dermatology?
Below is a list of helpful text books.

Arndt, K.A. (2002). Manual of Dermatologic Therapeutics (6th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkens.

Bolognia, J.L., et al. (2003). Dermatology. St. Louis: Elsevier/Mosby.

Frieburg, I.M., et al. (2003). Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, Vols I & II (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Habif, T.P. (2004). Clinical Dermatology (4th ed.). St. Louis: Elsevier/Mosby.

James, W., & Berger, T., & Elston, D.M. (2006). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. (10th ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier.

Paller, A.S. & Mancini, A.J. (2006). Hurwitz Clinical Pediatric Dermatology. (3rd ed.) Philadelphia: Elsevier/Saunders.

Wolff, K., Johnson, R.A., & Suurmond, D. (2005). Fitzpatrick’s Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Wolverton, S.E. (2007). Comprehensive Dermatologic Drug Therapy. (2nd ed.) Philadelphia: Elsevier/Saunders.

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