The healthcare industry is an ever-evolving sector. Over the last fifty years, one of the ‘latest’ and perhaps most valuable additions in the industry are nurse practitioners (NPs). These NPs are highly regarded for the work they do.
This profession remains one of the most vital components of the healthcare industry. Created to fill the growing demand for healthcare workers, these nursing jobs require individuals equipped to meet the needs of patients in primary care.
Those who want to pursue health careers should definitely consider becoming a nurse practitioner. Here’s what you need to know about this job.
What is a Nurse Practitioner?
This position is under the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) general title. These types of nurses are different from Registered Nurses (RN).
The main differences between the two healthcare jobs are that NPs conduct examinations, provide diagnoses, and give prescriptions.
Meanwhile, RNs carry out the procedures, medications, and treatments ordered by a care provider like physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.
So, one of the most important charges of NPs is providing primary and specialty care to suit the patient’s needs. In order words, practitioner jobs are expanded versions of RNs’ roles.
Because of this, RNs and NPs differ in salary. The median salary for NPs ranges from $107,030 to $110,930. The top 10% annual salary is more than $150,320 with a bottom 10% annual salary of less than $78,300. Meanwhile, registered nurses have a median salary of $70,000 annually.
Before a person can become a nurse practitioner they have to undergo specialized training and education. In fact, they are required to obtain a higher degree such as a master’s or doctorate in nursing.
Keep in mind that in the process of becoming an NP, individuals must become a licensed registered nurse, which requires a bachelor’s or associate degree or diploma in nursing.
So, in order to get into a graduate program needed to become an NP, you must first earn a bachelor’s or associate diploma. However, some institutions accept applications without such a degree through a bridge program.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projections shows that the employment of NPs will grow by up to 36% from 2016 to 2026.
Roles and Job Description
As mentioned, practitioners have similar authority as physicians, because they can conduct evaluations, give diagnoses, and make prescriptions.
In fact, part of their duties is to perform health assessments and fill out medical and psychosocial records and history.
They are also tasked to record symptoms, perform physical examinations, create treatment plans complete with medications, therapies, and procedures, as well as educate patients regarding their medical conditions. They can also interpret laboratory and radiological results.
Because they are in a healthcare environment, in which each player is important, NPs are also responsible for coordinating with other professionals such as physicians and nurses for the good of patients.
The responsibilities of an NP do not end after patients leave the facility. This means that these professionals are in charge of following up on patients in order to know whether or not the recommended treatment plan has been effective.
Other skills and competencies which should be exhibited by a practitioner include good communication skills, problem-solving, critical thinking, leadership skills, and compassion.
This is a full-time job with varying schedules, depending on the facility. Some even work during weekends and holidays.
The Bottom Line
If you are planning on getting into the healthcare field, you might want to consider becoming a nurse practitioner. You can help children and adults in stressful situations feel better. It’s a big responsibility and a rewarding one.