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Nurse Practitioner Career Information
If you are self-reliant, you might want to look into becoming a nurse practitioner. Similar to clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners have advanced, master's-level education. As an NP, you will learn how to diagnose common ailments, perform routine tests, prescribe medication, and work closely with patients to meet their health needs. Nurse practitioners can have their own practice, or work in hospitals and assisted-living facilities.
NPs can provide the same care offered by a physician, and in many cases, they are a patient's primary health care provider. NPs provide comprehensive, holistic health care for patients of all ages, focusing on individualized care. That means not only diagnosing and treating patient conditions and illnesses, but also working with patients and their families on prevention, wellness, and dealing with the effects of the illness on their daily lives. Many nurse practitioners are also active in patient advocacy and research.
The specific duties of NPs vary according to specialty and the state in which they work. Specialties include pediatrics, geriatrics, neonatal, acute care, occupational health, and anesthesia. Whereas other health care professions are nationally regulated, the NP profession is independently regulated by each state. All NPs are required to meet the licensing and certification criteria of their state; in addition, many opt for voluntary national licensing from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). For the NP requirements of your state, check with the State Board of Nursing. Become a Nurse Practitioner
You can earn your certification as a nurse practitioner in two years of classes and clinics, but you generally need to have earned your bachelor's degree first. The extra classes often qualify you for your master's degree. Most NPs start out as registered nurses (RNs) and then enter a BS-to-MSN program that focuses on a specialized field, such as family practice, women's health, or internal medicine.
Becoming a nurse practitioner is a great way to make an impact in the lives of individuals and your community. It's also well paid, with average annual salaries of more than $70,000. To learn more about how to become a Nurse Practitioner, request information from one of the schools listed below.
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