Becoming a Nurse Practitioner

by Howard Gerber on June 25, 2015

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nurse-practitioner-jobsIf you are interested in furthering your career as a nurse, becoming a nurse practitioner may be a good option. Working as a nurse practitioner can be rewarding and lucrative. There has never been a better time to become an NP. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the opportunities for nurse practitioners are expected to grow by about 19% through the year 2022.

Currently, there is a shortage of certain types of doctors including family practice physicians. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States is expected to see a shortage of up to 90,000 doctors by the year 2025. Nurse practitioners may help fill some of the void.

The path to becoming a nurse practitioner starts by earning a registered nursing degree. Although associate degree programs are available, a four-year bachelor’s degree program may be a better option. After earning your degree and obtaining your RN license, additional education and training is required.

The next step is earning a graduate degree. The minimum requirement to work as a nurse practitioner is a master’s degree, but some nurses also pursue a PhD program.

Nurse practitioner programs vary in their requirements. Some schools require nurses to have a certain number of years of experience before graduate school. Other programs may allow new nurses to works towards their master’s degree while gaining experience. It may be helpful to work for a few years to determine what area of nursing you are the most interested in pursuing.

The length of a master’s nurse practitioner program is often about two years. Some programs are full-time, but there may also be part-time options, which may work better with some nurses’ schedules.

Nurse practitioner programs may vary in their focus. There are several different specialties and areas you can choose from including the following:

Certified Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists have specialized training to administer anesthesia during various surgical procedures. Nurses also monitor the patient during and after the procedure to make sure they are tolerating the anesthesia.

Most nurse anesthetists work in hospitals or surgical centers. Salary may vary based on experience and location. According to a survey by Nurse Journal, the average salary for nurse anesthetists in 2013 was about $100,000 a year.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Women’s health practitioners focus on the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, such as gynecological conditions like ovarian cancer and vaginal infections. They may also provide prenatal care and treat women who have menopausal concerns.

After earning a master’s in nursing degree with a focus on women’s health, nurses may choose to earn certification from a professional organization, such as the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the Nurses Credentialing Center.

Family Practice

One of the most common specialties for nurse practitioners to enter is family practice. Similar to a primary care doctor, nurse practitioners coordinate a patient’s care and may work with the same patients throughout their lives.

Nurse practitioners who focus on family practice treat a variety of patients with conditions ranging from benign to serious. They also focus on the prevention of disease and the overall health of the patient.

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Mary Coleman 07.21.15 at 12:29 pm

Thanks for your sharing. I enjoyed the article “Becoming a Nurse Practitioner”. I also like to become a nurse. I noticed very necessary social need nurses. The graduates will not be afraid of being unemployed. I will soon be back blogging again. Thank you very much!

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Julia 12.20.15 at 6:49 pm

In actuality, once you cotmlepe your high school diploma, you will need to proceed to college. This can be a university or a local community college.There are currently three types of programs which prepare a person to take the NCLEX-RN examination for licensure as an RN.The Associate degree ADN which usually takes 21/2 to 3 years to cotmlepe.The Diploma certificate which normally takes about 3 years to cotmlepeOr the Bachelor of Science in Nursing which is a 4 year program, but some students take 5 to cotmlepe.There are reasons for each person to pick one of these programs, and each has its’ own attributes and detractors,The ADN does not always provide the degree and education required for upward mobility and may limit job selection, but is perfectly adequate for the entry level RN.The Diploma provides no degree in some cases, but does often provide more clinical experience and has an affiliation with the hospital system so the tuition is sometimes lower of may be reimbursed if you work for the hospital system.The BSN is considered to be the full professional degree for the RN, but has additional courses which do not need to be taken to work as an RN. Universities are also normally more expensive, so the BSN cost more than an ADN degree if you plan on working in a staff nurse position. You may also take an ADN to BSN completion program after you have started working as an RN, often online.The title RN, stands for Registered Nurse. This refers to having passed the examination for minimum safe practice as an RN and meeting the state requirements for licensure.You can attend any of the three nursing school programs, they will all prepare you to take the examination. The BSN students have the highest pass rate on the NCLEX-RN examination, followed by the ADNs and finally the Diploma graduates. However the three pass rates are not widely separated.Once you have finished nursing school, and start working, you can apply to work in the neonatal unit.There are also RNs who get graduate school degrees and specialize in managing neonatal patients, such as neonatal nurse practitioners, and neonatal clinical nurse specialists.

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