If you are a registered nurse and if you aspire for an additional educational qualification in your field, then in the near futute you ar most likely to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nure (APRN) or simply a Nurse Practioner (NP).
As a Nurse Practioner, you can serve as primary care provider and your duties will be very similar to those of doctors in their field or speciality. Nurse practioners can specialize in various specialities. This article deals in detail about the Nurse Practioner Course and career perpectives.
Different Specialities for an NP
- Primary Care
- Psychiatric Care
How to become a Nurse Practioner?
If you are interested to become an NP, first earn a bachelors degree and secure licensure as a Registered Nurse.You can become registered Nurse by passing NCLEX – RN(National Council Licensure Examination) exam. After some clinical experience, you must complete a Master’s programme and pass a state administered Nurse Practioner Licensing exam from any where which might take 2 to 4 years to procure. Then there is additional certification to use the APRN title and board certification for your speciality. Then you will have to procure a state specific license. But as times change rural health care organizations and associations are now pushing for doctorate level education.
Job Description of a Nurse Practioner
You can engage in all aspects of patient care including diagnostic, treatment and consultation.
You may work in both inpatient and outpatient situation and perform independently as part of a treatment team.
Take patient histories, perform physical exams, order lab investigations, analyze lab results, prescribe medicines, authorize treatments and educate patients and families on continued care professionally. Also educate patients about preventive care and prescribed treatments.
Duties and Responsibilities of an NP
Although NP’s have common duties and responsitbilities, they may vary by speciality.
- Primary Care Practioner’s: They are generalists who work in family health clinics and they provide general and preventive care, conduct check ups, treat illnesses, order lab tests and prescribe medication for children and adults.
- Pediatric NP’s : Work in Consultation with doctors in a childrens ward. Sometimes dealing exclusively with Neonatology or on older children upto age 18. Sometimes Pediatric NP’s may maintain their own patients and make decisions about necessary treatment.
- Geriatric NP’s: Often assist doctors in determining appropriate treatment and are responsible for designing and exercise program for recovering patients.
- The Oncology NP’s:They deals with diagnosis and consultation on the treatment regimen of cancer patients and may advise them about possible participation in clinical trials. One major responsiblility of the ONP is the follow-up, monitoring and recording of the clinical trials and to enter the results as research conclusions which are often published.
- Psychiatric NP’s: They often hold a PhD and may act as therapists. They will prescribe medications too. Although not authorized to conduct psychological testing, they regulary work closely with Psychologists and Psychiatrists to review test results and determine a course of action.
Working Conditions and Job Satisfaction for NP’s
Nurse Practioner’s work in clinic’s, office practices, managed care organizations and hospitals. They also deliver care in rural areas, urban community health centers, college campuses, worksite employee health centers and other locations.
Nurse Practioner’s also work for health care technology companies (eg. Pharmaceutical manufacturers), perform healthcare research, teach in schools and universities and serve in government agencies like Health Department, Military etc.
About 15% of all Nurse Practioner’s have their own private practices and in countries like United States(USA), there are many Nurse Managed Health Centers already.
Depending upon the type of practice, working schedules may be a conventional work week or may include weekends and holidays and or being available on call after hours. As the number of primary care physicians decrease and the demand for health care services increases, NP’s are highly recruited.
Salary and Payment for Nurse Practioner’s
Nurse Practioner salary can be incredibly lucrative, with consistent patterns of career growth all across the prfession. This is because of the versatality and advanced degree requirements. NP’s enjoy one of the top salaries in the nursing field.
An NP’s earning potential can vary base on their employer, education and area of speciality, but generally the salary range is excellent.
According to 2013 data of the BLS(Bureau of Labour Statistics), the average annual salary for NP’s is nearly 30,000 dollars higher than yearly earnings for a Registered Nurse(RN).
Demand for this Career
NP’s are in high demand, not only because of Nursing shortage but also because of their approach to medicine. Medical field is evolving and focussing on promoting health and wellness which is exactly the direction NP’s have turned to.
- More patients seek personalized care
- The aging baby boomer population
- These professionals are increasingly gaining public recognition as a trusted resource for primary health care needs.
- Doctors urge students to become NP’s.
Competitions NP’s are facing for a Job
Although jobs are plentiful, aspiring NP’s should not assume they are shoe-in. Nursing schools and future employers will always be looking for the best and brightest candidates.
Advancing in your NP Career
While NP’s need a masters for practicing, there are still more learning opportunities for promotions. NP’s are required to get recertified every five years either by taking an exam or completing continous education classes. If you are too busy to take courses – don’t worry, many nursing continuing education classes are offered online and sometimes it takes only a couple of hours to finish. Depending on the programme, it may take weeks or months.But before enrolling ensure that it is approved by the ANCC(American Nurses Credentialling Center), a subsidiary of the ANA.
NP’s – “A national necessity too”
Hope that in the near future we will be able to see many efficient NP’s within our country itself.
Globally now NP’s are widely accepted and many families abroad prefer an NP rather than a Physician for the routine health care of their family.
Developing nations like India can wisely use these professionals to solve the shortage of health personnel in the rural sectors. The plan is under process and is under impending decision of central government.
Anyway, if this has inspired you to become an NP, then don’t turn back and hurry up, acquire your qualifications, boost your skills and be an excellent Nurse Practioner(NP).
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