Duties Of A Nurse Practitioner
A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has received an advanced degree, usually a master’s degree in nursing, and has received additional specialized training. They generally work under the supervision of a physician, but they are not always required to.
The specialized fields that nurse practitioners generally practice in are adult (geriatric), family, women’s health, pediatrics, neonatal, acute care, and also mental health. The training for any of these specialties is beyond the master’s degree programs, and they are able to practice with much more authority that the nursing staff. There are many different types of nurses, and many of these nurses continue their education to earn their BSN, MSN, or nurse practitioner designation.
Nurse Practitioner Training
A nurse practitioner is trained and authorized to provide a variety of nursing and health care services to patients in hospitals or other health care facilities. They can prescribe medications, even narcotics, as well as treatment and various lab tests.
They function with a much greater degree of autonomy than a regular staff nurse, and are permitted to diagnose diseases and initiate treatment for patients. Some nurse practitioners have their own medical practice, but in general, most of them work collaboratively with physicians.
How To Become A Nurse Practitioner
The first requirement is to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited school where you will satisfy the requirements for competition of an approved nursing education program. It’s very important that you study as hard as necessary to maintain a high GPA during these undergraduate studies in order to demonstrate that you have the aptitude and are able to complete the master’s degree program.
If you know the area of practice that you plan to specialize, then it is also very helpful if you specialize there during your BSN studies. After you complete your BSN studies, you will be required to take the NCLEX-RN exam so that you may be licensed to practice nursing in your state.
Generally, most Registered Nurses are required to obtain clinical experience as a staff nurse before applying for a graduate program for nurse practitioner, and usually all of them must become master’s-prepared before they can enroll in one of the properly accredited nurse practitioner programs. Once you have accomplished this, you can then apply to be board certified in your specialized area.
Many Licensed Vocational Nurses begin their goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner by taking one of the many LVN to RN programs. They then attend a University that offers an RN to MSN program.
Career And Salary Outlook for Nurse Practitioners
The demand for nurse practitioners is high because of their higher level of education and intense clinical and theoretical training, and this pretty much holds true for any of the advanced degree nursing professions. The demand for other advanced practice nurses, and nurse practitioners especially, is expected to increase over the next 10 years. This is because of their ability to provide healthcare services in the inner city and outlying rural areas at a lower cost than a physician.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that the general employment of Registered Nurses has been projected to increase by 12% from 2018 through 2024. The Bureau has also stated that Nurse Practitioners are among the highest paid in the nursing profession and is affected by certain factors.
It depends on the number of years of experience that you have as well as the certifications that you have earned, and upon the area of the U.S. you practice in, and also whether you are employed in a rural or metropolitan area.
Nurse Practitioner Programs
As with any career path, and especially in the field of health and medicine, it all begins in the classroom, and it definitely is not a walk in the park. To earn the credentials and designation of a Nurse Practitioner, requires hard work as well as a dedicated individual willing to put in the long hours for nurse practitioner schooling. The financial rewards of the NP salary are indicative of the stringent education requirements.
For those who may not be familiar with this title, a nurse practitioner is a Registered Nurse with a BSN degree, who has completed the required courses to receive their master’s degree, and also completed courses in the area of specialty where they will practice. Even though the actual training requirements vary by state, the general consensus is that they all must hold a master’s degree and be licensed in the state where they practice.
Classes Taken During Nurse Practitioner Training
A Master of Science in Nursing is the required degree which must be earned in an accredited institution. Nurse Practitioner programs are available at many universities across the country, and also programs for specialization such as gerontology, primary care, family nurse practitioner, mental health, as well as neonatal. Some of the program courses that are available are health assessment, pharmacology, ethics, advanced pathophysiology, and nursing concepts. The schools include clinical practice right in the curriculum.
As soon as you have selected a field or program that you want to attend, check with the financial aid office and meet with a counselor who can help you to find specific awards that may be available to you. Many of these awards come from university donors or the endowment fund itself. In addition there are awards that are based on merit and also on needs, that you should apply for.
In the health care fields, there are also scholarships and grants available to nursing students only and you can usually find these by doing an internet search. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has a comprehensive listing of available scholarships and other financial aid resources.
Upon licensure, a nurse practitioner is qualified and authorized to provide medical treatment to patients in hospitals or other health care facilities. The medical care given includes analyzing the patient’s history, giving a physical exam, prescribing various medical tests, as well as ordering physical therapy treatment. As we mentioned above, there are a number of specialties that are available to a NP.
Registered Nurses, LVNs, and other caregivers without the advanced degree and training are not qualified nor are they authorized to perform medical treatment that is given by a nurse practitioner. The NP has much more responsibility and is also able to treat patients with chronic illnesses, plus prescribe medication. This additional responsibility doesn’t go unrewarded, as is noted by the salary of the NP. They also enjoy excellent benefits as well as perks like tuition reimbursement to help finance their education.
Anyone that is interested in very stable plus financially rewarding employment, should consider Nurse Practitioner schooling. More and more hospitals and other health care facilities are hiring nurse practitioners as a cost effective approach, as compared to doctors. NPs are being utilized more and more these days as the number of practicing physicians in the U.S. continues to decline.
The Nurse Practitioner career path can be very rewarding, but it demands commitment from you in the educational requirements. Do your homework by proper research for financial aid and then choose the program that you will enjoy as you begin your studies.