A Nurse Practitioner is a nurse who is qualified to treat certain medical conditions without the direct supervision of a doctor (Dictionary). They are healthcare professionals educated and trained to provide health promotion and maintenance through the diagnosis and treatment acute and chronic conditions (Wikipedia).
A Nurse Practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse with additional responsibility of caring for patients. They can order drugs (medication), diagnose diseases and come up with a treatment plan, just like medical doctors do. According to nurse.org, “they have what is referred to as full practice authority”.
There are many career pathways to becoming a Nurse Practitioner. The individual first and foremost, needs to have a Bachelor in Nursing degree and be a registered nurse. To become a registered nurse, they will have to graduate from college or have a GED, gain admission into a four year college or two years in junior college, which will earn them an associate. They can then transfer to a four year college or take an online class for about two years. After a Bachelor in Nursing degree, they will need to enroll in a master’s program and must take and pass a board national examination. “Nurse practitioners must earn a master’s degree from an accredited program. These programs include both classroom education and clinical experience. Courses in anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology are common as well as coursework specific to the chosen APRN role” (bls.gov).
Nurse Practitioners can be specialized in many varied roles, including General Nurse Practitioner, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Gerontology, Psychiatry and Family Nurse Practitioner. They can decide to work in an emergency room or labor and delivery (eBook). The cost of becoming a Nurse Practitioner varies and is one of the factors to consider before venturing into it. These costs depend on the education pathway you choose to follow, whether you want to do a full-time four-year course or you are considering a bridge program. This will play a major factor and the cost will be substantially different. It will cost more to go the full four years but less time, and will be less stressful compared to if you want to do the bridge or two-year program, which will take a longer period of time and more discipline. Some bridge programs may allow you work full-time. Schooling and a full-time job can be very stressful and challenging. The cost will also depend on your location, where you live and the school you choose – out of state tuition vs resident tuition, online classes vs in-class lecture, transportation vs accommodation, etc. These will all play a major factor when considering a career path and in some cases, you may want to specialize in something more advanced and meaningful to you (nurse journal). Help may be available to offset the cost of your education, such as grants, financial aids or scholarships based on merit.
Nurse Practitioners are becoming more popular, rewarding and lucrative in an already favorable healthcare nursing industry. It gives you job security because the need for Nurse Practitioners is increasingly growing each day. It was reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation that “the use of primary care is likely to grow in the next few years because of the aging population and the retirement of the early baby boomers”. Nurse Practitioners are expected to meet these needs and the lack or not of Nurse Practitioners can jeopardize the way care is being rendered to people and patients in rural areas (nurse.org).
A Nurse Practitioner can be a reliable job and a good profession because there are many specialties you can practice based on your passion, desire and financial stability, since some specialties pay more than others due to demand. In fact from 2014 – 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that “Nurse Practitioner jobs will increase by thirty five percent, which is much faster than most occupations”. It is also widely spread and commonly known that Nurse Practitioners make a decent living/earning and tend to earn much more than registered nurses. They out-earn registered nurses by over $30,000 (median salary for a registered nurse was $66,640 in May 2014). Some companies may also offer and provide incentives like free insurance, child care, unlimited vacation pay, bonuses, flexible schedules, holiday pay, overtime and even education reimbursement. Some offer a shift differential if you work overtime which will ultimately increase your earnings. Since every state pays differently, depending on where you live, the salary rate also differs.
Being a Nurse Practitioner is a rewarding job, in that it is not only helpful to patients, it is also a stable career in terms of job security and financial stability. According to US News in 2017, “Nurse Practitioners ranked the second best job out of the best 100 jobs in the United States and number two in the best healthcare jobs in the United States”.
Like most jobs, Nurse Practitioner jobs can be stressful at times. “Similar to other healthcare professions, Nurse Practitioners face physically, emotionally and intellectually tasking days. Much of the time is spent standing and treating patients with a spectrum of health issues, some minor and some fatal. The responsibility and pressure of doing the right thing all the time can be stressful” (US News). This is based on where you chose to work, your specialty and job setting. As a Nurse Practitioner, you may be required to lift patients up, from a bed to a chair and vice versa, making you susceptible to back injury and pain or fracture. Some might be required to work overnight, some working in hospitals may be required to work shifts to provide care and coverage round the clock for their patients. Many work holidays and on weekends and some may be even on call which will limit their activities and restrict their movement since they can be paged and called upon at any time.
- “Nurse Practitioner”. Wikipedia. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nurse_practitioner. Accessed Feb 19, 2008.
- “Nurse Practitioner”. Oxford Dictionaries. 2018, en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/nurse_practitioner. Accessed Feb 19, 2008.
- Novotny, Jeanne. 101 Careers in Nursing. Ebook, Springer Publishing Company, 2006, Feb 19, 2018.
- “Best Online LPN to BSN Programs”. Nurse Journal. 2017, nursejournal.org/bsn-degree/top-5-online-lpn-to-bsn-programs. Accessed Feb 19, 2018.
- “Nurse Practitioner”. Nurse.org. 2014, nurse.org/resources/nurse-practitioner. Accessed Feb 22, 2018.
- “Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives and Nurse Practitioners”. U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2017, bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm. Accessed Feb 22, 2018.
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