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How to Become A Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner is a senior healthcare professional who commands authority equal to a registered nurse. Capable of handling the duties of both a nurse and a physician, these professionals can diagnose patients independently and are often hired in a supervisory capacity.
The healthcare industry in the United States is growing at a very rapid rate, raising the demand for qualified health professionals. Nurse practitioners are able to bridge the gap by working as an autonomous unit and handling their duties effectively. In many cases, they can also act as the primary healthcare provider to a sick or recovering individual, detecting ailments and advising on the best course of action. The added responsibility in the job is a challenge to handle, and should only be undertaken by those with a passion for multitasking.

In order to become a nurse practitioner, you must possess at least a graduate degree in advanced practice nursing. The process starts by signing up for a Bachelor’s degree in nursing to build a solid foundation, and then moving on to the Master’s degree in a particular specialization. You can pick from a broad variety of subjects, from oncology to pediatrics, psychiatry to family practice. Choosing a specialization that best reflects your professional goals and interests is a good idea, because you do not want to be stuck in career that is going nowhere. Your curriculum will also vary based on the choice you make, so you must be sure of the decision once you decide.
Upon completing your degree program, you will have to take a licensing examination to demonstrate your grasp of the practical and theoretical knowledge required to be a nurse practitioner. These exams are administered by each state individually and grant you permission to practice your profession legally.
Once you have obtained the license, you can choose to work in a public or private hospital as a nurse practitioner, or team up with a physician to work in a joint setup. Some states allow nurse practitioners to write prescriptions and make referrals, while others do not. Understand the variations in the laws before you take any examination.
Nurse practitioners are responsible for ensuring that all sick and recovering individuals in a hospital are tended to and are receiving adequate care. In addition to this, nurse practitioners will also have to monitor and record vital statistics, facilitate patients in moving or eating, and offer emotional support to the sick and their family. Because of your senior position in a hospital, you will often be asked for consultations and required to answer questions that the patient or family may have.
While the entire process and responsibilities of becoming an NP may seem daunting, there is a considerable payoff. Because of your qualifications and expertise, you are granted higher authority in the workplace, and are able to draw a higher salary as well. You can also continue to build upon your credentials via your experience and continue educational programs to become an efficient, responsible healthcare provider. You can also work independently as a private consultant.
 

Ask an Expert

Q:How to become a nurse practitioner with no degree?

A:You cannot become a nurse practitioner without a nursing degree. It is important to enroll in a nursing college and acquire formal education. There are many nursing degrees you can go for such as the LPN degree, RN degree, and BSN degree. Apart from training and education, you must also earn a license by clearing the NCLEX examinations.

Q:How can I increase my current nurse practitioner salary?

A:You can boost your income level as a nurse by acquiring further education or certifications. Since the nursing field is growing rapidly due to technical advancements, nurses are required to constantly upgrade their skill sets and knowledge. By earning a certification or moving into a certain specialty field, you can increase your income potential.

Q:Apart from the nurse practitioner salary, will I get any other benefits in this career?

A:Nurses are respected and reputed all over the world for their dedication and healthcare services. This field is growing rapidly and will open up many career opportunities. Nurses are well paid but also get other benefits such as insurance. However, this depends upon which healthcare organization a nurse plans to join.

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