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Performing Your Duties as a Nurse Practitioner

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In the nursing field today, there are many employment opportunities. Nursing job openings are widespread across the nation. Everything from nursing assistants to nurse practitioners are in high demand.

Nurse practitioner is the highest level a nurse can attain. In many states, a nurse practitioner has the same admitting rights as a doctor; they can admit and follow their patients in the hospital.

If you are interested in becoming a nurse practitioner your first step is becoming a registered nurse. You will be required to take advanced nursing courses and eventually receive your master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner. This can take a few years to complete, but you can work as a registered nurse in the mean time.


A state licensing body governs nurse practitioners; therefore, the duties you are allowed to perform may vary from state to state. However, here is a list of some of the things you might be allowed to do:
  • Diagnose, treat, and monitor certain non-life-threatening diseases, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Get medical records and do routine physicals.
  • Order, perform, and read test and lab results.
  • Prescribe medicines for chronic illnesses. (Limits will vary according to state.)
  • Prenatal and family planning services.
  • Well childcare clinics—immunizations and checkups.
  • Primary and specialty care services.
  • Care for critical or acute patients.
  • Minor surgeries and procedures—with additional training and under strict supervision.
  • Counseling patients on healthy living, self-care, and treatment options.
As you can see, many of the duties in this line of work are similar in scope and sequence to that of a family physician. It is for this reason that the educational requirements are so stringent.


The first part of your education will be to get your registered nursing license. To do this you must attend school at a qualified university or technical school. There are two degrees possible: an associate’s degree in nursing (ASN), which is a two-year program, or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), which is a four-year degree.

Once you complete the training and education necessary you will be required to take a board certification test. After passing these, you can then pursue furthering education to become a nurse practitioner.

Not all states will require a master’s degree in nursing; however, most do require a master’s, post-master’s, or doctoral degree. In addition, all colleges and universities offering nurse practitioner degrees are at the master’s or post-master’s level.

Finally, all states do require practitioners to be certified by a national board before they can actually practice medicine and the two largest boards in the country do require applicants to have a master’s degree. Overall, the best idea when pursuing this career would be to get your master’s.


Jobs in nursing have always been plentiful; it seems there are never enough nurses to go around. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that nursing as a whole will grow much faster than all other sectors.

This is due in part to a growing and aging population. People are living longer now than ever before. Moreover, the cost of seeing a nurse practitioner is much lower than a traditional physician is; so as healthcare costs continue to rise and the economy continues to sink, it is safe to assume there will be much growth in this field.


The salary for a practitioner can vary depending on location and field of work. The median pay as reported by is $65,000 per year. The salary also varies according to place of employment, with emergency room taking the top slot at $85,000.

Job Examples

Again, the allowed scope of the position will be highly dependent on the state of residence; however, these are some possible nursing job openings available:
  • Emergency room
  • Government health agencies
  • Schools and day care
  • Independent practice
  • Acute care facilities
  • Geriatric care units
  • Neo-natal
  • Psychiatric
  • Women’s Health
Just about any specialty you can imagine has a place for nurse practitioners. All you need is the desire and the fortitude to carry out the required training and testing.


One thing this world can never have too much of is nurses. As in any search for employment a daily perusal of the employment section of the daily paper will show you available positions. The current demand is at an all-time high and shows no signs of slowing.

Besides if, you have always wanted to be in a position to help people by treating their illnesses but could not go to medical school, this is the next best thing. Most practitioners have well-lit, comfortable environments to work in and are providing a much-needed public service. All in all this is a great profession to pursue.
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Popular tags:

 educators  US Bureau of Labor Statistics  doctoral degrees  chronic illnesses  medicines  patients  courses  diseases  Certified nursing assistants  clinics

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