Nurse Practitioners study at the graduate level. This is considered one of the most popular advanced practice specialties and requires a deeper level of education than a vanilla-wrapper MSN can deliver alone.
Most Practitioner degree programs are delivered at the university schools of nursing where candidates have the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of study venues and with an intense faculty.
Degrees include Masters level specialization and a variety of post-graduate certificate programs. Among the areas of NP specialists:
Because NPs practice at such an advanced level of patient care, the school curriculum reflects appropriate intensity-skills AND didactic lessons. Advanced pharmacology, advanced patient assessment skills, lifespan nursing, advanced evidence-based research, ethics and nursing issues, case management, and patient assessment for the specialty—these are samples of the required coursework a student NP must satisfy. Add to this a few semesters of clinical study, as well.
Nurse Practitioners are among some of the more autonomous nursing specialties, in other words many have the authority to practice independently of a physician. They may diagnose illnesses, provide care, develop a patient following, prescribe medications and specialize in a variety of patient populations, women, children, infants, child-bearing families, aging adults, and psych patients.
In general Nurse Practitioners fill a growing gap in Healthcare. They may provide deeply engaging relationships with patients, deliver excellent services in the short-term and long-term, and do almost everything a physician may do for drastically less money. Many patients opt to use a NP as their primary caregiver.
With a Nurse Practitioner degree under your belt you are in the driver’s seat with career opps. NPs practice in a spectrum of care environments, such as hospitals, outpatient healthcare centers, nursing homes, emergency departments, private physician’s offices, home health nursing, and in private practice for themselves.
NPs average between $59,000 and $80,000 annually depending upon experience. But variables such as region, type of patient care facility, area of specialization and more may tip the salary scale higher.
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) provides professional support, networking and advanced certification for all levels of NPs.