The Growing Need for Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner
The United States is currently experiencing a physician shortage. Due to increased demand for healthcare services, there are not enough physicians entering the workforce to meet the higher demand.
Nurse practitioners are healthcare providers that help meet patient care demand. In some states, nurse practitioners function independently. While nurse practitioner schools offer specialties in more general care areas such as family medicine or acute care, nurse practitioners can even further specialize in residency programs in subspecialties such as cardiology or orthopedics.
Orthopedic nurse practitioners have a variety of job duties. They see patients with many different musculoskeletal disorders or injuries. They can evaluate patients in the clinic setting or in the hospital setting, and order imaging, treatments, and procedures for patients. They may assist in orthopedic surgeries and setting broken bones, as well as perform joint injections, set casts, or place splints. They also track healing from treatment interventions and order subsequent tests, plan follow-up care, and collaborate with other members of the healthcare team (i.e. physical therapists, staff nurses, and nutritionists) to ensure patient needs are met.
Orthopedic NPs can even earn certification in the field. The Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB) offers certification for NPs. Requirements for certification include:
- Three years of experience as an RN or APRN
- Have a current, valid RN or APRN license
- Hold a master’s degree or higher
Have a minimum of 2,000 hours of APRN experience within the previous three years in the orthopedic or musculoskeletal specialty, or who are enrolled in an orthopedic fellowship or residency program through an accredited university