Nurse Practitioners (NPs) provide patient care for infants, adults, and the elderly. NPs are permitted to prescribe certain medications in every state. Twenty-five states permit NPs to treat patients without the supervision of medical doctors.
These specialists administer physical exams, diagnose disease and injuries, administer various medical treatments, administer immunizations, review medical records and recommend diagnostic exams, including lab tests, EKGs, and X-rays, teach patients about preventative care, and assist families caring for sick and injured family members.
- Median pay (annual): $104,740
- Median pay (hourly): 50.36
Nurse practitioners are employed at medical clinics, doctors’ offices, managed care clinics, hospitals, college campuses, company health centers, rural hospitals and medical clinics, and various other facilities where health care is delivered. They are also employed at medical technology companies, pharmaceutical companies, research labs, military bases, and government agencies.
Fifteen percent of nurse practitioners manage private practices. Additionally, numerous nurses-managed medical facilities operate nationwide, where medical care is administered and supervised by nurse practitioners and other medical specialists.
As demand for medical care increases and fewer doctors are able to provide it, there will be a need for more nurse practitioners throughout the medical industry.
Nurse practitioners hold graduate degrees and are licensed as registered nurses. They typically hold master’s degrees, which take two years to complete following undergraduate study. Nurse practitioners have various specialties to choose from, including acute care, oncology, psychiatric health, occupational health, geriatrics, women’s health, and pediatrics. Within these specialties, there are numerous sub-specialties to select from.
To be effective, nurse practitioners must be critical thinkers and good communicators since they frequently discuss symptoms and treatments with patients. They’re required to review charts and diagnostic test results to make patient evaluations and recommend treatments. Since nursing is a stressful career, nurse practitioners must have effective stress management skills because they’re frequently around people dying and suffering from chronic pain.
Aspiring nurse practitioners should be aware that a national trend of requiring these specialists to hold doctorate degrees is growing. The doctorate degree is known as a practice doctorate, which is very similar to degrees earned by clinical pharmacists, psychologists, dentists, and physicians. It typically takes three to four years to earn a doctorate degree in nursing.
Students enrolled in graduate level programs in nursing are required to complete courses in illness and health, clinical management, diagnosis, epidemiology, pharmacology, pathophysiology, physiology, and anatomy. In addition to classroom lectures, students are required to complete hours of clinical practice to prove they’re capable of effectively administering nursing responsibilities. After graduating, you’ll be permitted to take national board certification exams to become licensed as a nurse practitioner.
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