Nurse practitioners (NPs) or advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are nursing professionals with additional education. If you want to enter in this career field, you must complete extra schooling to take patient histories, authorize treatment, prescribe medicines, analyze lab results, order labs, perform exams, etc. The daily duties of these professionals are similar to those of doctors.
Nurse Practitioner Job description
As a nurse practitioner, you must be able to help all aspects of patient care, which include diagnosis, consultation and treatment. You can perform your duties independently or in association with a treatment team. Educating patients about prescribed treatment and preventative care is the primary responsibilities. You need to order tests, conduct physicals, and serve as the primary health provider of patients. Sometimes, you need to prescribe medications to patients. Your duties and responsibilities vary on the basis of specialty, which include pediatrics, primary care, geriatrics, psychiatric care and oncology.
If you specialize in primary care, you need to provide general and preventative care, order lab tests, treat illnesses, conduct check-ups and prescribe medications for adults and children. You can work in hospitals and family health clinics.
Pediatric nurse practitioners need to work in association with doctors in a children’s ward. You can also work with neonates and older children up to age 18. Making decisions about necessary treatment, maintain your own patients, etc are your responsibilities.
Provide care, counseling and treatment to elderly patients and their families are the responsibilities of geriatric nurse practitioners. If you specialize in oncology, you need to perform various duties after the consultation and diagnosis of cancer patients.
Those who specialize in mental health, school health, pregnant women health, anesthesiology, nurse midwife, etc should perform tasks accordingly. However, generally, the nurse practitioner job description include:
* Prescribe medication routes, dosages and frequencies
* Order, interpret and perform results of diagnostic tests
* Analyze and interpret patient’s histories, physical findings, symptoms, or diagnostic information
* Develop treatment plans on the basis of standards of care, scientific rationale and professional practice guidelines
* Diagnose or treat acute health problems such as injuries, infections and illnesses
* Prescribe medications based on safety, efficacy, and cost
* Counsel patients about possible side effects, drug regimens or interactions with other substances
* Detect and respond to adverse drug reactions
* Educate patients about self-management of chronic or acute illnesses
How to Become Nurse Practitioner ?
Before becoming a licensed nurse practitioner, you need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing from a traditional accredited nursing school. This is a full time study and it will take around 4 years to complete. After the completion of bachelor’s degree successfully, you must complete an additional 2-6 years of study to obtain a master’s degree in nursing or Doctorate of Nursing Practice. During the course, you will get in-depth training in pharmacology, diagnosis, anatomy and medical ethics. Extensive clinical training is also a part of this training program. During this phase, you can focus your attention on specialty areas such as:
* Women’s health
* Acute care
* Family and primary care
If you want to enhance your skills, you can go for optional one year residency. To get jobs in some specialties such as child and adolescent psychiatry, you need to complete additional supervised clinical experience. You must obtain a state license to work as a nurse practitioner. Graduation from an accredited training program and a board certification are the requirements for getting a license. Before seeking certification, some states may ask you to complete some mandatory training requirements such as courses in medication safety, etc. National Certification Corporation, American Nurses Credentialing Center and American Academy of Nurse Practitioners are the certification bodies for nurse practitioners in the United States.
Nurse Practitioner Job Qualifications
Nurse practitioners must be able to provide high quality care. So, you must be empathetic, compassionate, non-judgmental and patient. In order to communicate with patients, families and other professionals effectively, you must have excellent interpersonal skills. Excellent analytical and observational skills are essential for diagnosing and treating patients effectively. While prescribing medications and performing surgeries, you must be attentive to detail.
If you are interested, you can specialize in one or more clinical area. However, you must be highly experienced to take multiple specialization. Less experienced professionals can seek employment as administrators or managers of community agencies and healthcare facilities. You can also start private practice or opt teaching profession at university level. Some NPs work as consultants in pharmaceutical, healthcare or insurance industries. You can make greater advancements in your career if you have excellent education, certification in multiple specialty areas and experience.
Master’s level degree is essential for practicing as an NP. However, still, there are lots of opportunities to continue your education. So, you can make promotions throughout your career. Every five years, you are required to get re-certified. This can be done by taking an examination or completing continuing education classes. If you prefer the latter option, you can acquire new knowledge in nursing field. Online education programs are also available for busy professionals.
Job Market for Nurse Practitioner
The demand for nurse practitioners is very high not only because of the shortage of nurses but also because of their approach to medicine. Today, the medical field is focusing on the promotion of health and wellness. Therefore, NPs have greater role in this regard as well. Patients also prefer to get personalized care. So, the service of NPs becomes more necessary. As per the evaluation of US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment opportunity for nurse practitioners is expected to grow 34 percent through 2022. These professionals are very keen to provide quality care. So, the job prospects for them are very strong and they can enjoy a secure career as well. The job market for nurse practitioner is very huge due to a number of factors such as slower enrollment rate in nursing schools, limited nursing school faculty and aging US population.
Though there are plentiful job opportunities for nurse practitioners, this field is not free from competition. Future employers and nursing schools always prefer to hire the best and brightest candidates. If you want to get a good career, you must have appropriate degree and professional certification. NPs mainly seek employment in physician offices, general medical and surgical hospitals, outpatient care centers, home healthcare services, etc. NP is considered as one of the top salary jobs in nursing field because of versatility and advanced degree requirements.