Around the world, nursing is considered to be one of the most respected, rewarding, and meaningful career choices. When you work as a nurse, you are in a position where you get to spend each day at work caring for others and offering support and help to people at a time when they need it most. Nurses make a real difference to the lives of the people that they work with, helping both patients and their families to get through tough times by providing healthcare, emotional support, advice, and a listening ear.
Along with being a great career choice for people who enjoy helping others, nursing is also a career choice with a lot of opportunities for progression and advancement. One of the most popular choices for registered nurses who want to climb the career ladder is to work as a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses with full practice authority in twenty states, allowing them to work on a similar level to a GP and diagnose, treat, and prescribe patients without the need for supervision. If you’re a registered nurse or considering a future career as a nurse, these are some of the main benefits of working in a role as a nurse practitioner.
Very High Demand
Currently, the role of a nurse practitioner is an ideal one for registered nurses to consider as it’s in very high demand. With a shortage of primary care physicians impacting the country as fewer medical students decide to pursue this specialty, family nurse practitioners in particular are experiencing growing demand to work in roles where they can fill the gap that has been left by fewer numbers of primary care doctors. For those who are currently working in an RN role, finding work as a nurse practitioner once qualified will not be difficult. Get started with these nurse practitioner programs in Texas available from Baylor University.
Specialty Areas to Choose From
As a nurse practitioner, you can choose to work in a wide range of different specialty areas depending on what you are interested in the most and the type of healthcare setting where you might prefer to work. Nurse practitioners can go on to specialize in primary care, pediatrics, neonatal care, adult-gerontology care, psychiatric care and many other areas. You can choose to work with certain patient populations, or focus your efforts on the treatment and care of patients with certain health conditions such as cancer or mental health. To become a nurse practitioner, you will need to gain at least a master’s degree in nursing. Programs with a specific focus on these specialty areas are available, along with highly specialist nurse practitioner master’s programs.
More Career Advancement Opportunities
While working as a nurse practitioner might be the main goal for many registered nurses who want to advanced their careers, it’s not the final step on the nursing career ladder. With an MSN, you will be qualified to work in a wider range of advanced nursing roles including nurse management, nurse education, and even executive and director roles. If you want to continue with advancing and progressing in your career after working as a nurse practitioner, there are plenty of further advanced nursing careers that you can consider getting into with your level of education and experience. Nurse education is currently one of the most in-demand professions for nurse practitioners, with a shortage of good educators having a direct impact on the shortage of nurses in the US today.
Enjoy Interesting Work
Like working as an RN, working as a nurse practitioner provides you with the opportunity to work in a role that is fast-paced and interesting with plenty of opportunities to improve your knowledge, work on your skills and learn something new. Whatever specialty area you decide to get into as a nurse practitioner, you are going to be working with a wide range of different patients on a daily basis. Nurse practitioners work in a role where there’s unlikely to be any two days that are ever the same, and with the world of healthcare constantly changing as a result of technological and scientific advancement, there’s never a dull day with many new things to learn and master.
Work in Various Healthcare Settings
Once you have qualified and gained a license to work as a nurse practitioner, there are various different healthcare settings that you can find work in. In twenty US states, nurse practitioners have full practice authority, which allows them to run their own clinics and work independently of a primary care physician to diagnose, treat, refer and prescribe medication to their patients. Along with running their own clinics, nurse practitioners may work in various healthcare settings including hospitals, doctors’ offices, outpatient clinics, residential programs, specialist clinics, research facilities and more.
Steps to Becoming a Nurse Practitioner
To become a nurse practitioner, you will need to start out with at least a BSN. Registered nurses who have an associate’s degree can use an ADN-BSN bridge program to achieve this qualification, which will qualify you to enroll on advanced nursing programs such as an MSN and nurse practitioner degree programs that are designed to prepare you specifically for this role.
Once you have gained an advanced degree, you can go on to get more specialist nurse practitioner training with a postgraduate certificate, which may be required if you want to get into a specialist role as a nurse practitioner such as neonatal, surgical, or psychiatric mental health, for example. With the right qualifications gained, you will then need to apply for an earn an advanced nursing license. The process for getting this involves sitting an exam that is similar to the NCLEX, which you will have taken in order to get a license to practice as a registered nurse. Exams are provided by a range of different advanced nursing licensing bodies depending on your state. Once you have a license to practice as an advanced registered nurse, you are permitted to work in both advanced and standard nursing roles.
If you’re currently a nurse or planning a nursing career, the role of a nurse practitioner is an excellent position to aim for.