How to Be a Nurse Practitioner

The Nurse Practitioner Job Overview:

A nurse practitioner is a person who is educated in advanced nurse practices and has a more clinical authority and independence that other nurses such as RN's (registered nurses) or LVN's (licensed vocational nurses). A nurse practitioner can take on similar aspects of a physician's duties such as diagnosing and treating patients as well as billing health insurers for their procedures and office time spent on a patient, though typically it is at a lesser pay rate than physicians. Many NP's (nurse practitioners) are direct revenue sources for hospitals, clinics and medical practices, therefore they have a great deal more job security than other types of nurses and can garner a much higher annual salary than other nurses. With a nurse practitioner, a medical practice can treat more patients in a shorter amount of time and therefore allow the practice to become more efficient, making the medical facility more profitable.

Education Needed to be a Nurse Practitioner:

A nurse practitioner needs to have completed an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at an accredited nursing school just like a normal nurse. After that is finished they need to go on to receive a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with an emphasis on the NP track at an accredited nursing school. Most nurse practitioners have a specialized area of expertise such as family care, critical care, women's health or a disease specialty. A nurse practitioner also needs to be licensed to practice medicine in their geographic area as well.

Other Requirements to be a Nurse Practitioner:

A nurse practitioner needs to be able to handle blood, bodily fluids, death and cadavers at a frequent rate. They need to be a natural authority figure as many nurse practitioners have a supervisory capacity over other nurses they work with as well as unlicensed staff such as MA's (medical assistants), interns, etc.

Advancement as a Nurse Practitioner:

A nurse practitioner may take on a managerial or supervisory position of a nursing floor, hospital, clinic , etc. They can also use their education and experience to teach other nurses in an educational environment. If they choose, they can also return to college and receive a doctorate to go on to become a physician as they are only two years and a residency away from a doctorate.

Future Prospect for Jobs as a Nurse Practitioner:

The medical field is ever growing as the population increases. The medical field is one of the most robust career fields around and this ensures a healthy and competitive environment for a nurse practitioner. As stated above, a nurse practitioner also plays a vital part in the overall revenue of hospitals, clinics and medical practices, so they have a greater chance of job security than many other medical career fields.

Expected Salary as a Nurse Practitioner:

The average annual salary for a nurse practitioner varies by geographical location, education and experience, but the annual salary for a nurse practitioner runs about $92,000 or £57,000 a year. A nurse practitioner makes far more than RN's or LVN's, but less than a physician.

A Day-in-the-Life of a Nurse Practitioner:

The typical day for a nurse fractioned can vary based upon their specialized medical field and position, but it usually includes:

  • Diagnosing and treating patients
  • Supervising other medical staff on the floor or in the department
  • Keeping detailed records of all activities
  • Submitting bills to billing staff for health insurance claims for patient care


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