How To Become A Nurse Practitioner

Candidates aspiring to become nurse practitioners (NPs) must first become registered nurses. So to begin with, you should complete a diploma program in nursing, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. After this you will become eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). After successfully passing this exam, applicants must enroll in a state-approved advanced nursing education program after gaining work experience of around one to two years. You will need a master's degree, post-master's certificate, or doctoral degree in nursing. If having completed only an associate's degree or a diploma previously, you will need to complete the necessary coursework of a bachelor's program first. You can do so by enrolling in an ADN-to-MSN bridge program. If you have an undergraduate degree in a non-nursing filed, you can pursue an accelerated joint BSN-MSN program.

National board certification as a nurse practitioner is generally required by all states. The main certifying bodies are the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. These necessitate candidates to hold at least a master's degree or post-master's certificate to be eligible to sit for certification, but after 2015 these organizations will require applicants to hold a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Candidates can choose to specialize in the following areas:

  • Oncology
  • Mental health
  • Gerontology
  • Acute Care
  • Pediatric and Neonatal
  • Women's Health

Why Choose an online Program?
Online programs are designed for nurses who may be working full-time, but wish to widen their career opportunities by expanding their knowledge of advanced practice nursing. These programs are flexible and convenient as students can proceed with the coursework at their own pace. Online programs may also be more economical than traditional ones as participants may avoid accommodation and transportation expenses.

What Do Nurse Practitioners Do?
The job description of an NP is determined by state regulations. Nurse practitioner is one of the four advanced nursing specialties. They have the authority to run their own clinics in some states, while in others, they must work in collaboration with the physicians. They work as specialty as well as primary care providers. NPs generally perform the following tasks:

  • Diagnose, treat, manage, and evaluate prognosis of acute and chronic illnesses and diseases
  • Obtain medical histories and perform diagnostic studies like bone x-rays, EKGs, and lab tests
  • Conduct physical examinations
  • Prescribe rehabilitation and pharmacologic treatments and therapies
  • Provide family planning and prenatal services
  • Perform minor surgical procedures such as suturing, dermatological biopsies, and castings
  • Educate and counsel patients in self-care skills, health behaviors, and treatment alternatives

Job outlook
The employment outlook for nurse practitioners is quite bright. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 26 percent growth in their employment for the period 2010 to 2020. Nationally, the average full-time salaries of these professionals have increased by 30% in the last decade as reported by the 2010 National Salary Survey of Nurse Practitioners. They are employed at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, emergency rooms, offices of private physicians, public health departments, and urgent care facilities.


Q:How to become a nurse practitioner?

A:To become a nurse practitioner, having a nursing degree is a necessity. Numerous schools across the nation are offering nursing programs at graduate and undergraduate level. Some of the most common nursing degrees pursued include the registered nurse degree, LPN degree, and BSN degree. With a degree in nursing, you can take the NCLEX examination in your state.

Q:For becoming a nurse practitioner, what degree program should I choose?

A:There are many different nursing degrees available at nursing colleges. Some of the leading programs include the LPN degree, BSN degree, MSN degree, and doctoral degree. All these programs have different eligibility requirements and entry criteria. You can also pick a specific branch of nursing to pursue in a program.

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