How To Become A Nurse Practitioner
LearnHowToBecome.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Nurse practitioners get advanced training in nursing so they can take their careers a step farther. By gettinggraduate-level education, they can operate independently or under the supervision of a physician. Many are hired byhospitals or doctors offices to provide support and services to an individual physician or team of doctors. A nursepractitioner begins as a registered nurse and then moves on to get a masters and sometimes a doctoral degree.Prospective NPs need to consider what type of specialty most interests them and in what type of organization or settingthey want to work. Use this guide to learn more about nurse practitioner careers, degrees, salaries and industry trends.
Are Nps Without Prior Nursing Experience The Future Of Advanced Practice Nursing Or An Aberration
To the surprise of people on both sides of those questions, theres little firm evidence one way or the other.
A survey of the limited number of studies looking at the effectiveness of nurse practitioners without RN experience from 2016 found mixed results some showed no correlation between prior RN experience and competency levels among NPs, while others found that NPs who had previous nursing experience under their belts exhibited higher reported rates of clinical expertise.
One of the most recent investigations funded by the Widener University School of Nursing and published by the NCBI actually found that the primary driver of success in the NP role was not RN experience at all, but rather a formal orientation period during advanced practice training.
Those findings tend to reflect a 2010 Canadian study that showed the major obstacle to NP success in new roles was environmental, or systemic having to do more with how familiar NPs are with colleagues and employers and with the role and scope of practice than the pre-service clinical experience they have.
The data can be spun either way, but the absence of any clear answer tends to offer an answer of its own: theres no clear tie between experience as an RN and success as an APRN.
Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
A pediatric acute care nurse practitioner provides care to newborns and children up to 21 years old who are acutely, critically or chronically ill. Their expertise is needed in community agencies, hospitals, pediatric emergency departments and pediatric intensive care units, among other settings. They work with patients, families, healthcare professionals and multidisciplinary ethics communities. With the guidance of a pediatric acute care NP, children and their families may be able to better prepare for sensitive lifecycle moments and treatment milestones.
You May Like: Hondros College Of Nursing Reviews
What Certification And Licensing Will I Need
Once youve earned your MSN or DNP in a nurse practitioner-focused program, youre ready to take your certification exam and become certified. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board and the American Nurses Credentialing Center both offer nationally recognized certification exams for NPs. Your specialization will dictate which organization you can be certified by, although there is some overlap within a few specialties. There are additional certifying agenciessuch as the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board , the National Certification Corporation , and othersthat offer certification to NPs who subspecialize.
Once youve been certified, youll be able to pursue a NP license in your state. NPs must renew their certification and state licenses periodically, typically by completing continuing education courses and fulfilling other requirements.
What Will I Learn In My Program
Your coursework will depend on your specialty, but the focus will always be on patient care. NPs have an advanced scope of practice that allows them to take on many of the duties traditionally associated with physicians, but NPs always work from a nursing perspective.
Nurse practitioners are trained to be holistic, for your physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs, explains Hunt.
The course of study is all-encompassing and includes everything from physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, nutrition, behavioral issues, cultural issues, physical exams, minor procedures, and more, says Hunt. In other words, the focus on wellness goes beyond just treating an illness or injury.
Nurse practitioners treat the whole person not just their illness.
You think about things from the patient perspective and work with them as partners in health, says Hunt. The books, tools, and training often overlap with medical training.
Also Check: List Of Approved Nursing Schools In Florida
What Is A Bachelors In Biology Called
The Bachelor of Science degree is designed for students who are interested in ecology, genetics, microbiology, cellular, developmental, environmental, or molecular biology, and want to develop a rigorous background in the sciences to prepare for graduate or professional school for science related jobs.
Completing A Graduate Nursing Program
A graduate degree is necessary to become an NP, as it is a minimum requirement for licensure as an APRN. In 2018, 99.1% of NPs held a graduate degree, according to the AANP. Typically, professionals who want to become a nurse practitioner pursue a Master of Science in Nursing. MSN programs are designed to refine skills and knowledge in areas of undergraduate education, while also expanding expertise in advanced nursing principles, evidence-based practice, statistical procedures, advanced health assessment, health care informatics and health care organizational management.
Generally, MSN programs are offered on a part-time or full-time basis and take between two and four years to complete. However, the years required to complete an MSN program depend on the track and NP specialization. For instance, Bradley offers a graduate nursing program that prepares students to become a family nurse practitioner. According to 2018 AANP statistics, more than two-thirds of NPs were certified in family care. Bradley MSN programs are offered on two tracks with differing lengths:
- The BSN-entry program can be completed in three years and requires 750 clinical hours
- The RN-MSN-FNP program takes 3.6 years , includes bridge courses and requires 800 clinical hours
The timeline to completion for a DNP, just like with any other degree program, depends on the entry degree and the specialization track. Considering Bradleys two DNP programs helps illustrate these differences:
Also Check: Sacred Heart International Institute Nursing Program
Apply For Nurse Practitioner Certification
Each state requires nurse practitioners to achieve national certification. Specific nurse certification requirements vary by state. Its important to know what makes you eligible for certification as you embark on your education and training. There are many certifications available for nurse practitioners to choose from, such as acute care, pediatric care, cardiology and more.
Once you have earned your nurse practitioner certification, it is likely it will have to be renewed every five years, according to the ANCC Nurse Practitioner Certification renewal requirements. In addition to renewed certification through the ANCC, renewal through the state is also required and may necessitate additional fulfillment of continuing education contact hours. Keep in mind that there are other organizations recognized by state boards for certifications. Be sure to check with your state for more information first.
It may be a goal of yours to pursue further specialization within the field. Once youve earned your degree from an accredited NP program, you can obtain certification in your area of specialty. Each licensing body has its own requirements, but they typically include a graduate degree in nursing, a certain amount of nursing experience and a passing score on a certification examination.
How Can You Become A Nurse Practitioner Without Being An Rn First
Of course, the vast majority of nurse practitioner training programs at the masters or doctoral level, only accept candidates with some experience as a practicing RN. But a new breed of training programs, responding to the massive demand for qualified APRNs, have been chopping away at that requirement to the point that no actual nursing experience beyond internship and clinical hours may be necessary to become a licensed APRN.
Some find a path through direct entry NP programs, which allows students with bachelors degrees in fields other than nursing to enter an MSN or DNP program, assuming certain course prerequisites are fulfilled, such as biology, anatomy, or chemistry classes Other programs are for individuals without a bachelors who have their APRN career goals in mind before they even begin college, allowing them to bypass RN nursing on their way to becoming an APRN. They may enroll in a BSN program and go directly through the pipeline to an MSN or DNP as required for APRN licensure. Although you technically become a registered nurse in the course of becoming an APRN, theres no requirement that you do anything other than get the piece of paper that says so no actual experience in nursing is necessary.
Recommended Reading: Nurse Educator Master’s Degree
The Following Is A Detailed Step
1.Earn a bachelors degreeguide2.Become a licensed registered nurse being a licensed RNassociates degreeNCLEX examBasic Life Support 3.Earn a masters in nursing or doctorate of nursing practice degreeDNP degree4.Pass your nurse practitioner certification examinationAmerican Nurses Credentialing Center American Academy of Nurse Practitioners hereANCCNational Certification Corporation Pediatric Nursing Certification Board5.Obtain state licensureBoard of Nursing6.Get your DEA licenseregister with the DEA7.Find your first nurse practitioner job!IndeedGlassdoor
Earn A Graduate Degree
The next step to becoming a nurse practitioner is to earn a Master of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice with a family nurse practitioner role specialty.
Along with the FNP specialty, students in MSN and DNP programs can choose from other role specialties, depending on the universitys offerings. Popular specialties include nurse educator, nurse executive, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner , adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner , pediatric nurse practitioner , and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner .
- Master of Science in Nursing: An MSN is an advanced nursing degree that opens doors to prestigious positions in the field. An MSN-FNP is a sufficient qualification for becoming a nurse practitioner. A full-time MSN program with an FNP role specialty typically takes 2-3 years to complete.
- Doctor of Nursing Practice: A DNP-FNP provides more coursework on leadership and research for nurse practitioners who aspire to lead in these areas. A full-time program typically takes 34 years, depending on specialty, with the FNP specialty typically taking about 4 years.
Don’t Miss: Universities In Florida For Nursing
Family Nurse Practitioner Ms Nursing
This program for BSNs who have an active, unencumbered RN…
This program for BSNs who have an active,…
This program for BSNs who have an active, unencumbered RN license prepares you to become a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner.
- Locations: This degree program is offered in only the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia.
- Time: 2½ years.
- Tuition and fees: $4,250 plus $1,395 in fees, per six-month term.
College of Health Professions
Nurse Practitioner: Everything You Need To Know
You may have thought about becoming a nurse practitioner while considering your future career in nursing. After all, this job came in at fourth place in the latest US News rankings of the best 100 jobs. The pay is excellent at a median salary of $100,910, the unemployment rate is low, and it is one of the fastest growing fields with a projected 56,000 new jobs in the next ten years.
Pursuing this path is an excellent option if you are looking for a career that offers various choices of specialization and working environments presents daily challenges and provides a large degree of autonomy in practice.
You will, however, have to be prepared for many long and hard years of study ahead.
Recommended Reading: How To Become A Certified Nicu Nurse
What Do You Have To Do To Become A Nurse Practitioner
Steps to Becoming a Nurse Practitioner Become a Registered Nurse . The first step to a career as a nurse practitioner is earning your credentials as a registered nurse . Earn a Bachelors Degree. Gain Experience. Earn a Graduate Degree. Obtain State License and Certification. Pursue Further Specialization.
What Qualities Does A Nurse Practitioner Need
The primary qualities are the same as those that are necessary for all nurses compassion, a real desire to care and make a difference in peoples lives, excellent communication skills, and the ability to stay calm and make sound decisions while under pressure
Practicing independently requires nurse practitioners to be confident, with excellent self-motivation and control. The field is dynamic the practitioner must be able to adapt to change as well as be prepared to commit to self-directed lifelong learning. The NP also needs to have leadership skills and be a capable administrator which includes good time-management.
Don’t Miss: Is My Nursing School Accredited
Doctor Of Nursing Practice Degree
The DNP program covers all the information and skills youll learn in an MSN program, but youll take additional courses that teach you more about leadership, health care policy, and using evidence-based care in clinical practice, among other areas.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing , all DNP programs must have courses that prepare students in the following eight core areas:
DNP students must also complete an original scholarly work, often known as the DNP project, that shows they can apply the knowledge they learned to an actual issue affecting nursing.
Select Your Patient Focus
NP students determine their patient populations at the time of entry into an NP program. Identifying a population focus from the beginning of educational preparation allows NP education to match the knowledge and skills to the needs of patients and to concentrate the program of academic and clinical study on the patients for whom the NP will be caring. For example, a primary care pediatric NP will spend the entire time in didactic and clinical education dedicated to issues related to the development and health care needs of the pediatric patient.
While core courses in pathology, pharmacology and physical assessment are included in all NP programs, this population focus-based education ensures that an NP students educational time is 100% concentrated on the clinical area where the NP clinician will ultimately be practicing.
Population foci include:
The majority of people are familiar with NPs in primary care. Thats not surprising, as 89.7% of NPs are certified in an area of primary care and 69% deliver primary care. However, there is a growing need and interest in NPs in all areas. NPs work in a number of clinical and other professional settings, including but not limited to private practice settings, school-based health centers, hospitals, specialty clinics, correctional facilities, Veterans Health Administration facilities, community health centers and emergency departments or urgent care facilities.
Don’t Miss: Can You Become A Registered Nurse At A Community College
Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
An adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner focuses on preventive healthcare and management of acute and chronic health issues in adults . From conducting wellness exams and educating families on disease prevention to performing diagnostic screenings, AG-PCNPs have multiple duties in a variety of healthcare settings, including internal medicine units, clinics, student health centers and ambulatory care centers.
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.
Also Check: Prairie View A& m University Nursing School
How Long Will It Take
The amount of time a nurse practitioner program will take will depend on which degree you choose to obtain. There is the more traditional Master of Science in Nursing degree, as well as the newer Doctorate of Nursing Practice option. MSN programs will take about 2-3 years to complete, and DNP programs will take 3-4 years. To currently work in a clinical setting, there isnt much difference in terms of clinical education, job role, or salary at this current time although that may change in the future.
Benefits Of Rn Work Experience
Obtaining work experience as a bedside RN is absolutely important in your development as a future nurse practitioner. Working as a bedside nurse offers continuous hands-on learning every day you work. The amount of learning in medicine is endless, and I can confidently say that there isnt a shift that goes by that I dont learn something. Working as a nurse will expose you to many common acute and chronic medical conditions, and the treatments and therapies involved. In fact youll be the one administering and helping with them! Through your experience, you will improve your assessment skills, as well as your communication with your patients, and your colleagues within the hospital or clinic that you work. First-hand work experience will give you a deeper understanding of the healthcare system and just how it all works. This will become invaluable in your pursuit of becoming a nurse practitioner.
Read Also: Bachelor Of Science In Nursing Schools