What is a Nurse Practitioner?
A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who has additional responsibilities for administering patent care than Registered Nurses (RNs). They are licensed, autonomous clinicians focused on managing people’s health conditions and preventing disease.
NPs can prescribe medication, examine patients, diagnose illnesses, and provide treatment, much like a physician. In fact, as reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), it’s estimated that NPs can provide 80-90 percent of the care that primary care physicians offer.
1) Become an RN and keep your license in good standing.
2) Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
3) Enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Nurse Practitioner program. These programs require clinical rotation hours.
4) Take state specific exam and certification tests as well as obtain national certification.
5) Attain licensure for prescriptive authority and dispensing privileges. All requirements are state specific.
6) Start practicing as a Nurse Practitioner!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the mean annual wage for NPs is $110,030 (May 2018).
Through the year 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for NPs will grow by 31 percent, which is much faster than average. The agency attributes this increased demand to an aging population and an increase in emphasis on preventive care by more third-party payers, including Medicare and Medicaid. Additionally, primary care providers are increasingly relying on NPs amidst a shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas according to the American Journal of Managed Care.
NPs work in clinics, office practices, managed care organizations and hospitals. They also deliver care in rural areas, urban community health centers, college campuses, worksite employee health centers and other locations. Additionally, NPs work for health care technology companies, perform health care research, teach in schools and universities and serve in governmental agencies.
Approximately 15% of all NPs have their own private practices.
- American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP, 2016)