Most people who become a Nurse Practitioner do so after working in the medical field. The nurse practitioner job description involves first being a registered nurse, and secondly getting your master's degree. A nurse practitioner works under the supervision of a practicing physician.
By offering nurse practitioner jobs, doctor's offices are providing patients with qualified care at a reduction in cost. Nurse practitioner jobs allow registered nurses to function in the capacity of a doctor without the cost of being a doctor. This includes insurance, schooling and more. By functioning as an extension of the doctor, the nurse practitioner job may not seem as glorious, but nurse practitioners are granted the responsibility of a medical doctor.
If you already work in medicine, you may have a specialty area in mind. Nurse practitioner jobs are available in a wide range of fields. Some of the licensed practical nurse jobs include private practices in which the nurse practitioner has a rural office. The supervising physician may or may not be within the office, but this is for someone who has experience making administrative as well as medical decisions. If you have always wanted to be a doctor, but found yourself in nursing, this may be the perfect position for you.
Nurse practitioner jobs also include positions within family practice, pediatric medicine, women's health or acute care. When you attend your master's program, you will select your area of concentration so that you can master the requirements needed for a nurse practitioner job in that area.
What impact can you have in a nurse practitioner job? Working in this position, you provide individualized care, and are the primary provider for your patients. Nurse practitioners are responsible for not only diagnosing illness, but in prevention and wellness education as well. Working in a nurse practitioner job includes duties such as:
- Working under a physician to formulate treatment plans.
- Providing referrals when necessary.
- Counseling patients regarding medical treatments and conditions.
- Diagnosing and treating both acute and chronic diseases and infections.
- Obtaining and entering medical histories.
- Prescribing medications.
- Conducting physical examinations.
Experience is absolutely essential when entering this field. Working as a nurse will give you good exposure, but in a licensed practical nurse job, you don't have the responsibility of diagnosing and prescribing medications. In order to increase your chances of getting the job you want, take additional course work and list all of your certifications on your resume. PALS and NALS (Pediatric and Neonatal Life Support), and any other certification you can obtain will only make you a stronger candidate for nurse practitioner jobs that you want. Take any additional classes you can, even if they don't seem related to your specialty. This will show that you want to learn everything you can.
Once you begin your search for the perfect nurse practitioner job, make sure to look in all the possible hiring locations. Jobs are in demand, and employers include community and government health departments, HMO's, Home Health, Hospitals, hospice care, private practices, universities and school systems, the Veterans Administration, and walk in clinics. There is no shortage of options for where you can go for work.
So, this seems like a dream job. Make sure that you consider the cons of this job. While you are working in an ever changing and challenging field, the stress level is high. Being responsible for someone's health is a huge moral responsibility. Working in nurse practitioner jobs creates an amount of stress similar to working as a medical intern. Sometimes snap decisions are necessary, and dealing with sick patients can be a challenge.
The hours are also not traditional. In order to be successful, nurse practitioner jobs require weekend, holiday and late nights. This is not always the case, but be prepared to work odd hours if you go in to this field. You may also be on call, and must keep up with paperwork. In addition, nurse practitioners must also stay up on new medicines. This requires ongoing school.
How much can you expect to earn? A nurse practitioner job will pay significantly higher than a traditional nurse will earn. Salaries range greatly by geographic location and specialty. The median range for 2007 was around $75K, with a range from $50K all the way to $164K/ annually.
If you want to go into this field after working in a licensed practical nurse job position, the outlook is good for employment opportunities. Research the state requirements for licensing and education, and start to work your way up the ladder. This is a job that will allow you to stretch yourself professionally while being an asset to the community and earning a great income. Where else can you get all this in one job?