When you become a nurse practitioner (NP), you’ll be joining the ranks of registered nurses (RNs) with a masters degree in nursing education and clinical training that focuses on a specialized like pediatrics, psychiatric health, or community health. What’s unique about Nurse practitioner programs and NPs is their integrative approach advanced practice nursing. NPs focus on providing holistic, preventative measures that are customized to best fit the needs of each individual patient.
Nurse Practitioner Career Overview
So what will your responsibilities entail when you become a nurse practitioner? As NPs diversify their skill set and take on more tasks that benefit from their unique approach to nursing, the answer to that question becomes more and more all encompassing. NPs fulfill a variety of patient needs, from diagnosing and treating conditions to writing prescriptions to counseling patients. As you might imagine, such a wide range of abilities and responsibilities means that nurse practitioners can be found practically anywhere that health care is needed, including clinics, schools, hospitals, emergency rooms, private practices, and public health departments.
Career Trends for Nurse Practitioners
Of course, it’s important to consider things such as longevity and room for growth before embarking on any career path. So what is the current climate like for working nurse practitioners, and what does the future look like? According to a 2009 AANP report, 125,000 NPs practice in the U.S., with nearly half of those nurses specializing in family practice. Adult care, pediatrics, and women’s health are also all popular specialties for NPs. The solid reputation that NPs have built for themselves with their high quality, personalized care means that job opportunities are looking good if you’re seeking to get into this health care profession. But it’s also worth noting that advancing your education through a Masters in Nursing via a Nurse Practitioner Program will play an important factor for incoming NPs; 88 percent of NPs hold advanced degrees and 92 percent are nationally certified. The bottom line? Top-notch educational and professional credentials are essential things for you to have in order to stay competitive in this career field.
Nurse Practitioner Salary
Across all specialties the average base salary for a nurse practitioner of $84,250, according to 2008 data from the AANP. Total average income for full-time NPs is $92,100. PayScale.com also indicates that many of the NP specialties and sub-specialties that pay the highest can be found in ER, surgery, geriatrics, intensive care, case management, and acute care.