Nurse Practitioner Degree
In the offices of many busy doctors, there is quite often a health care professional known as the nurse practitioner. This individual is typically a registered nurse who has obtained an advanced level of education and training. When considering a degree as a nurse practitioner, there are several factors to consider.
- The duties of a nurse practitioner (NP) are more closely aligned with the duties of a physician than with those of a nurse. Nurse practitioners provide direct care to patients, including examinations, diagnosing illnesses, treatment, and prescribing medication. While most nurse practitioners work collaboratively with a physician, some opt to work independently. The duties and responsibilities of nurse practitioners may vary from state to state.
- Obtaining a nurse practitioner degree always involves advanced education. Initially, the candidate will obtain an RN degree. After earning this degree, candidates must complete a state-approved training program for nurse practitioners. These programs may offer training in specialty areas, such as family medicine, woman’s health, or internal medicine. Programs may be offered through community colleges or hospitals, but most nurses obtain a nurse practitioner degree through a university program. After earning a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), the successful candidate will obtain a master’s of science degree in nursing. In most states, a master’s degree is the minimum degree, with some states requiring nurse practitioners to possess a doctorate degree in nursing.
- When considering which school to attend for a nurse practitioner degree, several factors should be considered. First and foremost, it is critical that the program be accredited. A list of accredited nursing schools may be found at the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. Some classes may be offered through online studies, but most accredited schools of nursing will require a significant amount of education through clinical training.
- Before deciding on a course of study, take the time to visit the websites of reputable resources such as the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association.
- The benefits of a nurse practitioner degree are numerous. The nurse practitioner has additional duties and responsibilities. With that, comes additional compensation. In the United States, the base salary for nurse practitioners is typically around $75,000, but may be significantly higher depending on the region of the country and the area of specialization. Experience will also affect salary.