Achieving A Nurse Practitioner Education
Pursuing a nurse practitioner education presents an opportunity for a working nurse to advance his or her career.
What do they do?
A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse who has a specialized graduate education, a minimum of a master’s degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, NP’s “diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a healthcare team.” Some of these healthcare workers might focus on promoting healthy behaviors which can prevent disease. They also order diagnostic patient tests like lab work and X-rays, then perform these tests and interpret the results for the patient.
Where do they work?
Today, many health insurance companies are allowing NP’s to serve as primary care providers, meaning that they can see patients just as a physician would. NP’s are not taking the place of doctors, but are seeing the surplus of patients that doctors are unable to see, and treating patients with less-serious, minor illnesses and injuries. They often work in hospitals, schools, physician’s offices, or any other location where a doctor might work. Some states allow NP’s to work in their own facilities, if they can prove that they have an agreement with a physician who will accept referrals.
What nurse practitioner education is necessary?
A nurse practitioner is required to have a minimum of a master’s degree, and many go on to pursue a doctorate degree. Becoming a registered nurse requires an associate’s (ASN) or bachelor’s degree (BSN), and successful completion of licensure exams. There are some accelerated programs available for working nurses with an ASN to earn their master’s degree, but otherwise, a nurse must first obtain a BSN before enrolling in a master’s degree program.
What’s the advantage?
By becoming a nurse practitioner, a nurse is qualified to take on higher-level responsibilities and to earn a comparably higher salary. NP’s function similarly to doctors and are financially rewarded for having achieved a higher-level and more specializednurse practitioner education.
Emily writes about Online Education for University-bound.com – a resource site for those interested in earning a degree online.