If you wish to pursue a career in medicine, more specifically, in the field of nursing, nothing can be better than to become a nurse practitioner. But what is a nurse practitioner? Well, an NP is a registered and certified nurse that has advanced training in diagnosing different types of diseases and treating various types of illnesses in patients. An NP with advanced educational credentials is certified to perform tasks that a majority of other nurses cannot. A licensed nurse practitioner is qualified to a plethora of different tasks which include:
- Prescribing medications that are common
- Diagnosing a broad spectrum of diseases
- NPs are qualified to perform specific tests and examination on patients
On the other hand, if you are wondering if there is any difference between being a registered nurse or a physician then yes there is – NPs typically focus on preventing disease and implement advanced health education whereas physicians are qualified to treat diseases.
Becoming an Nurse Practitioner – The Credentials Required
To become a registered nurse practitioner, students need to obtain a bachelor’s degree at minimum or a master’s nurse practitioner degree. To begin with, it is necessary for each prospective nurse practitioner to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and preferably from an accredited and reputable nursing institution. During your bachelor’s program, you can enroll yourself in an intern program for becoming a registered nurse in a private physician clinic or a general hospital for streamlined experience. After about two or three years of experience, an RN can then pursue his master’s in nurse practitioner degree, which is going to be a comprehensive program and is going to prepare you to become an NP.
When it comes to becoming an NP, the most common degree that is pursued by students is a Master of Science in Nursing – which is also one of the prerequisites of becoming a nurse practitioner. However, with that being said, it is speculated that in the coming future, prospective nursing practitioners will be required to purse and obtain a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) degree.
The Types of Specializations Available as a Nurse Practitioner
After becoming a nurse practitioner, there are dozens of specializations you can successfully opt for in a plethora of fields. Some of them include:
- Pediatric Primary Care
- Acute Care
- Psychiatric-Mental Health
- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care
- Adult Psychiatric-Mental Health
- Adult Gerontology Primary Care
Salaries of Qualified Nurse Practitioners
As specialized medical practitioners, certified nurse practitioners can enjoy a lucrative salary package. As per the statists of the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, it was identified that that the average median salary for nurse practitioners fall between $96,000 (2014).
Registered nurse practitioners deployed in metropolitan cities – particularly those that have a very good experience, can enjoy salaries of up to $150,000. But this primarily depends on the field of specialization and the level of academic prowess.
Moreover, after a nurse practitioner degree, salaries will vary state to state, the employer, the size of the employer, the education level of the NP and the amount of experience they have. For example, there is no question that nurse practitioners working in areas like Washington D.C, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City will earn higher salaries compared to NPs working in Oklahoma.