The career of a nurse practitioner is important, fulfilling and lucrative.
Individuals who are interested in pursuing a medical career might be training to become a doctor or currently working as a registered nurse. Medical students and professionals who want to pursue a fulfilling, lucrative career might decide to become nurse practitioners.
The functions of a nurse practitioner
Nurse practitioners provide care services to patients and their families. They assess patients’ health and create care plans to improve or manage it. They might work in certain areas of medical care, such as adult or geriatric health, pediatrics or mental health. Nurse practitioners make an enormous impact on their communities. This role is proactive, important and highly respected.
Nurse practitioners have access to plenty of duties that registered nurses do not. For instance, they can diagnose illnesses, conduct research and prescribe medications to their patients. In many states, nurse practitioners have “full practice authority,” which allows them to work without the supervision of a doctor. Nurse practitioners often enjoy the autonomy they have in their careers. Many professionals even decide to open up their own private practices.
If nurse practitioners decide not to open their own practice, they can choose to work in a variety of different settings. Some of the most common settings in which nurse practitioners perform their duties include:
How to become a nurse practitioner
An advanced practice registered nurse is required to have an RN license in addition to an advanced degree in Nursing. While many APRN master’s programs prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in medicine, they welcome graduates of biology, neuroscience, nutritional sciences or other related subjects.
Although many practices hire candidates with master’s degrees, many APRNs decide to pursue a Ph.D. or Doctor of Nursing Practice at some point in their careers. A doctorate can broaden APRNs’ knowledge about their specialization, open doors for career advancement and result in a higher pay scale.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners are extremely high in demand. There is a projected growth of 36 percent through 2026 in the nurse practitioner profession. Overall employment of all types of APRNs, which also include nurse midwives and anesthetists, is expected to grow 31 percent in this timeframe. Underserved areas, such as rural and inner city areas have the highest need of APRNs. Needless to say, this career is expected to have many openings, which could improve students’ chances of gaining employment.
In May 2017, the median income of nurse practitioners was $103,880, according to the BLS. This is a significant increase from the median income of registered nurses, which was $70,000. Most nurse practitioners work full-time in this career. Professionals working in physicians’ offices might have typical business hours, but those working in hospitals might work in shifts that can go late into the night and early into the morning in order to provide round-the-clock care for patients.