Important Things To Note Before Becoming A Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with additional education. Extra schooling allows these professionals to take patient histories, perform physical exams, order labs, analyze lab results, prescribe medicines, authorize treatments and educate patients and families on continued care. Nurse practitioners are also known as advanced practice registered nurses, specialize by patient population, training to work in areas like women’s health or pediatrics. They may also work in research or academia.
How To Become A Nurse Practitioner
The main contrast is the amount of formal education required. Physicians have more training, and their breadth of knowledge and their salaries are usually commensurate with their additional work. However, increasingly and somewhat controversially nurse practitioners are providing primary care to patients.
Many nurse practitioners first worked as registered nurses where their treatment of patients extended to holistic and wellness care, and a NP brings that background to his or her diagnosis, treatment and management of medical issues.
You’ll spend a considerable amount of time in school. All nurse practitioners must first be registered nurses, so a bachelor’s degree, associate degree or other approved diploma is a requirement. Passing the National Council Licensure Examination is also required.
Then, you’ll have to get a master’s or doctorate degree, which can take anywhere from two to four years. Then there’s additional certification to use the APRN title and board certification for your specialty, like women’s health, pediatrics or neonatal, to name a few. And you’ll also have to obtain a state-specific license.