Obtain State License And Certification
Once youve earned your graduate degree, youll be one step away from officially becoming a Nurse Practitioner. Prior to entering the workforce, youll need to obtain your state-specific advanced practice nursing license and national specialty certification. Earning your specialty certification qualifies you to enter your chosen nursing specialty or profession.
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While many nurses use an to obtain their NP certification, change is in the air for NP schooling requirements. The AACN recommended back in 2004 that the new nurse practitioner school requirements include the by 2015.
The argument for the higher education requirement focuses on the comprehensive nature of the NP job description. Advocates for the higher level say it is needed to ensure NPs have the clinical expertise from the start of their practice.
Not all nursing organizations believe a higher requirement is necessary. For instance, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education has said it will keep on accrediting all MSN programs and has no intention of changing its policy. They feel the MSN is more than adequate. They also do not want the MSN programs to be phased out since they help train other nursing pursuits as well.
As of this publication, the main exam boards have not raised the education requirement to exclude MSN program graduates. However, several nursing associations recommend students pursue the DNP since the shift could happen in the near future and employers are more likely to hire nurses with a DNP background.
General Path To Become A Nurse Practitioner
How long does it take to become a nurse practitioner? Becoming a registered nurse, completing a bachelors degree, gaining experience in the field, obtaining a graduate degree, and completing certification are all part of the process, which means the length of time it takes to become an NP will vary from one individual to another. However, understanding the importance of getting the right degree and the right certification at the right time will go a long way toward planning your path most efficiently. The following provides a general description of common steps to become a nurse practitioner.
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Get A Nurse Practitioner Certificate
Receive a nurse practitioner certificate in your chosen medical field. Some aspiring nurse practitioners choose to enroll in a certificate program that requires additional higher education courses. Taking a certificate course may be the best option if your chosen field of medicine is more specialized, such as for newborn or older adult care. You may also decide instead to take a national nurse practitioner examination offered by a reputable medical organization.
What Does A Nurse Practitioner Do
A nurse practitioner is a licensed medical professional who has the highest level of responsibility and treatment power in the nursing field. Nurse practitioners may examine patients, provide diagnoses, prescribe medication and treatment, and other duties.
These professionals have similar medical abilities to physicians and are considered to have full practice authority in 20 U.S. states. This authority means that the nurse practitioners in these states do not require a doctor’s supervision to practice. In the remaining states of the nation, nurse practitioners must have the supervision of a doctor to practice, but they still have more authority than other types of nurses.
The exact duties of a nurse practitioner are dependent on their specialization and place of work. A nurse practitioner may focus on the following common specialties:
Work as part of a healthcare team to provide comprehensive patient care
Read more:Learn About Being a Nurse Practitioner
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This Isnt Just Shadowing
In clinicals you will do much more than shadowing or observing your preceptor.
You will be an active participant working closely with your preceptor to assess and treat patients.
The clinical component of the program brings everything together to prepare you to practice on your own as a nurse practitionerand succeed right from the beginning in your first full-time job.
Duties Responsibilities Schooling Requirements Certifications Job Outlook And Salary
There are several different nursing specialties that Registered Nurses can pursue once theyve earned their license. Each specialty has its own specific job responsibilities, work environments, and benefits. To reach these positions, there are varying education and certification requirements. For many nurses, becoming a Nurse Practitioner serves as the general next step in their career.
Nurse Practitioners are RNs with advanced degrees and training, enabling them to work with a specialized group of patients. Once theyve earned their graduate-level education, they can explore various fields to discover the nursing specialty that interests them the most.
Weve put together a comprehensive guide for anyone whos wondering how to become a Nurse Practitioner. Continue reading to better understand the role of a Nurse Practitioner, their responsibilities, school requirements, job outlook, and salary.
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Working Environment For A Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners often work with patients, families and the wider community to deliver patient care. They can work in several settings, including hospitals, private practice or community health. They may work in specialised areas, including aged care, medical, surgery, emergency, drug and alcohol units or women’s health.
A nurse practitioner’s setting can affect their daily routine and schedule. For example, when working in a private practice, a nurse practitioner could work fairly standard business hours and not work weekends or night shifts. Working within a hospital may require a nurse practitioner to work overnight shifts or public holidays. Nurse practitioners also spend a lot of time on their feet and benefit from practical and comfortable footwear.
Nurse Practitioner Skills To Acquire
Along with your medical training there are many skills a nurse practitioner must have or develop in order to perform their job. Here are some of the most common skills you should acquire before you enter the field:
- Reading comprehension: must be able to research and comprehend diverse topics related to patient care
- Social perceptiveness: reading body language and other reactions of patients
- Active listening: the ability to listen and understand what people are trying to relay and asking pertinent questions to glean more information
- Speaking: able to clearly convey ideas and directions so others understand
- Active learning: absorbing new ideas and advances within the field of medicine
- Critical thinking: being able to reach a conclusion by looking at all sides of an issue
- Ethical decision making: required to make a confident diagnosis on each patient
- Effective communication: ability to communicate verbally and in writing, in person and via phone or computer
- Attention to details: in the patient-nurse practitioner relationship
- Ability to work: with a wide range of personalities and ethnic populations
- Working independently: must be able to perform duties without direct supervision of a doctor
- Highly organized: must be able to utilize time to maximize each day
- Leadership skills: will be supervisor to nurses and others within an office, clinic, or hospital
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What Is An Fnp
An FNP is an advanced practice registered nurse who provides a wide range of family-focused health care services to patients of all ages, including infants, adolescents, adults and seniors. FNPs maintain patient records perform physical exams order or perform diagnostic tests prescribe medications develop treatment plans and treat acute and chronic illnesses, conditions and injuries that fall under primary care. FNPs practice in a variety of health care settings, including community health centers, private practice, health care systems and universities.
Although FNPs have a broad scope of practice, from educating patients on disease prevention to treating serious illnesses, they can also obtain additional certifications in areas such as diabetes, pain or obesity management. FNPs are not required to have these additional certifications. Instead, they are available to many APRNs seeking to meet the needs of their patients and enhance their careers.
As your national NP community, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® recognizes that the decision to become an FNP and pursue additional certification will shape your career and the health of your future patients. AANP offers a list of NP certification boards and a searchable list of NP programs to help guide you as you make this important decision. As a student member of AANP, you also gain resources created specifically for youfrom NPs who are committed to advancing the NP profession.
How Are Nurse Practitioners Credentialed
States require different requirements for APRNs. In general, nurse practitioners need the following completed prior to practicing as a credentialed healthcare provider:
There are several licensing bodies for nurse practitioners. Each of these require periodic renewal similar to a registered nurse license. The licensing bodies for nurse practitioners include:
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Become A Certified Nurse Practitioner
Be sure to review information on licensure and regulatory requirements in your state. The AANP is a good resource.
To become licensed to practice as a nurse practitioner, you will need to take a national certification exam. You can take this exam through any of five national certification boards, including the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners , the National Certification Corporation , or the American Nurses Credentialing Center . Each organizations exam is different, so you should research the focus and format of each one and consider your personal career goals and testing preferences when deciding which exam to take.
Education And Training Requirements To Become A Nurse Practitioner
As noted previously, an MSN degree is the minimum requirement to become a nurse practitioner. However, some candidates choose to pursue a DNP, either as the initial path to meeting the educational and training requirements to become an NP or as additional education beyond the MSN. Both are popular options to meet NP education requirements, with many MSN programs available and the number of DNP programs growing.
When you are researching MSN programs, it is important to find one that offers your preferred area of focus. To determine the right specialty for you, consider the following tips:
- Gain clinical experience to help you determine which area may be a good fit.
- Understand the education and certification requirements for the specialty you desire.
- Research salary and work settings for various specialty areas.
- Talk to NPs who work in various specialties to better understand their roles.
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Six Nurse Practitioner Career Outlook
Nursing is already a stable, in-demand career. But becoming a Nurse Practitioner can give you even more job security.
The BLS predicts that nurse practitioner jobs will increase by 45 percent from 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than most other careers.
The need for primary care is also expected to rise over the next five years because of the aging population. NPs will help meet this increasing demand, especially in underserved areas.
Get A Bachelors Degree
In order to qualify for a masterâs or doctoral program in nursing, you must first have a bachelorâs degree. While a Bachelor of Science in Nursing will likely best prepare you for graduate study, you can actually apply to a graduate degree program in nursing with a non-nursing degree as well.
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Already an RN?
Many registered nurses receive their training through either an accredited nursing program or an associateâs degree program in nursing. As a result, they have the relevant training to work professionally but lack a bachelorâs degree.
Registered nurses in this common situation should consider taking an RN to BSN program, which can guide them to a BSN in as little as nine months. To accommodate those with busy schedules, flexible online programs are available through many education providers.
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Seven Which Schools Have The Best Np Programs
There are numerous NP programs throughout the country, so our panel of nurses ranked them based on reputation, certification pass rate, cost, accreditation, and acceptance rates to determine that these are some of the best options out there. Because nursing careers take different forms, the top 10 NP programs are ranked in no particular order.
Achieve State License And Certification
Every state requires that nurse practitioners be licensed. Since the Board of Nursing in each state governs the specific licensing requirements, it is important to know what the requirements are before starting your education and training. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing provides contact information for each state BON across the United States, where specific licensure requirements can be obtained.
In addition to RN licensure and a graduate degree from an accredited institution, NP candidates are typically required to have a certain number of supervised clinical hours. How much time will be needed to achieve licensure and certification? That will vary depending upon completion of eligibility requirement, the specific examination schedules of each certifying body, and the amount of time needed for a candidate to prepare for the certifying exam.
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How Do I Go From Rn To Np
A career as a nurse practitioner begins with becoming a registered nurse . To become an RN, you will either need to hold an earned diploma or Associate of Science in Nursing from an accredited nursing program , or state Board of Nursing approved program that prepares students for the NCLEX-RN exam.
Registered nurses with an ADN or diploma can continue with an online RN to BSN program. Some schools, such as Southern New Hampshire University , may require a BSN or Bachelor Science in Nursing as a requirement for graduate studies. When you’re ready to take the next step toward becoming a nurse practitioner, you will need to earn a Master of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice from an accredited program. There, you’llneed to complete specific nurse practitioner courses and supervised clinical practice hours.
In addition to the advanced graduate education, nurse practitioners are required to complete a specific number of clinical practicum hours, said Dr. Nicholas S. Carte, AGPCNP-C, APRN, graduate nursing faculty lead at SNHU.*
What Degrees Do I Need
Before you pursue a masters or doctoral degree, youll need an RN-level nursing degree. You can apply to an MSN program if you already have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing . You can also apply to special MSN programs known as bridge programs if you have an Associate Degree in Nursing . In either case, youll need to meet the requirements of your desired MSN program. In many cases, this means youll need to have an active RN license in good standing. Some programs will also ask that you have some professional experience working as an RN.
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Where Do Nurse Practitioners Work And What Do They Do
Most nurse practitioners work in hospitals, medical centers or the offices of family physicians. Some nurse practitioners establish their own practices, especially those who specialize in fields such as pediatrics or obstetrics. The duties and responsibilities of nurse practitioners include interpreting medical histories and performing physical examinations. They also provide diagnoses and recommend treatments. NPs are often responsible for treating medical conditions that do not require a specialist such as common medical conditions and injuries. They also have a limited authority to prescribe medications.
What Are The Types Of Geriatric Nurse Practitioners
There are two types of geriatric nurse practitioners: primary care geriatric nurse practitioners and specialist geriatric nurse practitioners. Primary care geriatric nurse practitioners provide general health care to older adults. Specialist geriatric nurse practitioners provide specialized care, such as care for those with dementia or chronic pain.
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Master Of Science In Nursing
A master of science in nursing is the minimum educational requirement to become a licensed nurse practitioner. Many programs combine professional core courses that dig deeper into subjects learned at the undergraduate level with clinical courses that focus on a particular specialty. These include patient-focused roles that cater to a specific population as well as educator roles designed to serve other nurses and industry professionals. MSN degree programs can also prepare an individual for a career as a clinical nurse leader, nurse administrator or nurse educator, and can lay the groundwork for those who wish to pursue a doctor of nursing practice degree. In most cases, the Master of Science program can be completed in two years.
At this level, students develop advanced problem solving and leadership skills necessary for more senior nursing positions, as well as the interpersonal communication skills with both patients and peers that will serve them in these roles. They also add to their clinical abilities by learning how to perform advanced scientific research that can contribute to the fields knowledge base. Masters programs prepare students to work and practice in a variety of medical and clinical settings, including hospitals, emergency rooms, community clinics, health maintenance organizations, urgent care settings, and correctional facilities.
Listed below are some common courses that nursing grad students may encounter in their MSN program:
One & Two: Become An Rn & Earn Your Bsn
The typical first step to becoming a nurse practitioner is to get your four-year Bachelor of Science degree. While majors can vary, the degree that provides the most immediate career in nursing is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing . It is also important to note that most graduate nurse practitioner programs require a BSN for entrance.
Many nurses do not have four-year degrees. For instance, a popular path is to earn an , get an RN license, and begin work in a three-year timeframe. Others earn a licensed practical nurse / licensed vocational nurse certificate to begin their nursing careers. These full time jobs used to hinder the ability of nurses to advance their education, but now several online bridge programs provide solutions.
An requires intense coursework, but enables you to maintain employment while earning a BSN in as little as 12 months. These programs are competitive because RNs are seeking their BSNs in record numbers. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nurses , 36.8% of RNs held BSN degrees as of 2008. In 1980, only 22% of RNs had their BSN degrees.
can take as long as four years to complete. These programs require entrance testing and interviews in most cases. The length of the program can vary based on criteria such as previously earned college credits, part time or full time coursework, and specific institution-based requirements.
- Western Governors University
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