This question has become the most frequently asked question after I started sharing my goals with my peers, patients and even some of my coworkers. Most individuals are unaware of the fact that there are several sectors which stem out of the nursing profession other than bedside nursing. Other questions asked include whether nurse practitioners are doctors, or if they are similar to physician assistants. To help the public better understand the various roles which the nurse practitioner plays in health care, I will provide some important facts which can properly educate my readers.
1. Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) who diagnose, treat and prescribe medication.
The role of the Nurse practitioner (NP) has been steadily evolving in the health care sector. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP, 2016), nurse practitioners are licensed, autonomous clinicians focused on managing people’s health conditions and preventing disease. They possess rights such as ordering, performing and interpreting diagnostic tests; diagnosing and treating acute and chronic conditions; prescribing medications and treatments; and managing over all patient care.
2. All NP’s have master’s degrees, and many have doctorate degrees.
In other to become a nurse practitioner, you must first possess a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, pass the certification exam (NCLEX), have a minimum of one to two years of nursing experience, and in addition pass the GRE. These requirements vary with each school.
3. Nurse practitioners practice in a variety of clinical settings.
These include family medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, geriatrics, acute care and psychiatric mental health to name a few. It is therefore important for students to be aware of what specialty they are most interested in before applying to any program.
4. The nurse practitioner programs range from 2-4 years.
Depending on what track the student decides to partake in, full-time masters level usually takes 2 years, while the doctorate level is 4 years post BSN. Upon completion of the program, individuals can get certifications in specific areas of interest.
5. Nurse practitioners want to be nurse practitioners.
Speaking from personal experience, most individuals believe that nurse practitioners want to replace the place of a physician. This is not true because nurse practitioners are committed to nursing, and are bound to provide holistic care to their patients by supplementing physicians and not replacing them. Their only goal is to work alongside other health care professionals to provide the most appropriate care needed by the patient.
6. Nurse practitioners ranked #2 on the “US news 2017 best jobs”.
The nurse practitioner profession is progressively becoming the cure to society having a shortage of health care providers, especially in underserved areas. There are more than 234.000 nurse practitioners licensed in the U.S (AANP,2017).
7. Nurse practitioners are ranked at the six figures salary.
Of course, individuals are often interested in a profession where they can also make a comfortable living from it. In 2017, the mean full time base salary for an NP was 105,546 (AANP, 2017). The pay varies based on experience, number of certifications obtained, and the level of education (masters/doctoral level).
To my fellow nurses who plan on obtaining an advanced degree, nursing students who are obtaining their RN degree, and patients who are looking for primary care providers, you can obtain more important information about nurse practitioners from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
About the author:
My name is Maria Niba, a native of Cameroon, West Africa. I am a registered nurse at University Health Shreveport Louisiana (Level 1 Trauma Center), where I work on a Neurosurgery Unit. I have previous clinical experience on a medical surgical floor as well as in Dialysis where I performed task such as peritoneal dialysis. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of South Carolina Aiken where I graduated with honors, thereby permitting me to become a member of Pi Lambda chapter, Sigma Theta Tau international honor society.
With my zeal to explore the wonderful opportunities within the nursing profession, I decided to pursue a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (Family Nurse practitioner concentration) at Loyola University New Orleans. My passion lies in the domain of health promotion and disease prevention, and my main goal is to someday own a private clinic, work for a pharmaceutical company as an MSL (Medical Science Laison), or conduct research projects for organizations such as CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization). As an ambitious woman, I exemplify the possibility of passion meets purpose, to empower girls/women to go after their dreams with one goal; to succeed despite the circumstance.
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