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Nurse Practitioner Degrees: Which One is Right for You?

Nurse practitioner degrees prepare individuals who work as registered nurses with the education and training needed to obtain more advanced career positions. Nurse practitioners hold a master’s degree in nursing and are qualified to work independently from doctors. Some of the benefits of earning a nurse practitioner degree include higher pay and the opportunity to work as teachers, mentors, and researchers within a chosen specialization. There are various types of nurse practitioners, each of which is trained to offer specific forms of health care. Determining the right nurse practitioner degree for you will depend on your individual career goals and primary interests.

Family Nurse Practitioner

Family nurse practitioner programs prepare nurses to provide care for patients and their families throughout the process of diagnosing, treating, and managing illnesses. These nurse practitioners may work as consultants to physicians and may practice within the private and public health sector.

Adult Nurse Practitioner

Adult nurse practitioner programs focus on the health care and treatment of individuals who are 12 years of age or older. Graduates of these nurse practitioner degree programs may choose to work in private practice or in leadership positions within hospital settings.

Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP

Doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs are advanced nurse practitioner degree programs that require participants to hold a masters in nursing degree prior to enrollment. The completion of a DNP program qualifies nurse practitioners to hold advanced research and leadership roles within health care settings.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical nurse specialist programs are designed for nurse practitioners who are interested in holding positions as leaders or educators within their chosen field. These types of nurse practitioner degrees can be focused on areas such as critical care and adult health and gerontology.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric nurse practitioner programs prepare students to diagnose and provide health care to patients with mental illness. These types of nurses may choose to focus their studies on working with adults only, or with both adults and children.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Women’s health nurse practitioner degree programs qualify registered nurses to treat adolescent and adult women who need gynecological and reproductive health care. These nurse practitioners are also trained in providing women with obstetric care.

Nursing Administration

Nursing administration programs are designed to train graduates in the practice of supervising a nursing staff. These types of nurse practitioners are responsible for overseeing staff duties, creating work schedules, ensuring that patients are receiving the appropriate care, and ordering inventory supplies.

Nurse Midwife

Nurse midwife programs provide nurses with the knowledge and training needed to care for women throughout the pregnancy and childbirth process. Those who hold this nurse practitioner degree are able to offer health care in a home, birthing center, or hospital environment.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric nurse practitioner programs are geared toward nurses who wish to specialize in caring for the health needs of babies, children, and adolescents. These types of nurses may work in office, clinic, or hospital settings. The primary duties of these nurse practitioners are to evaluate, diagnose, and treat pediatric patients.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Nurses who hold neonatal nurse practitioner degrees are qualified to treat premature, ill, and healthy infants within hospital or home health settings. Neonatal nurse practitioners who work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) consult with doctors in assessing and administering health care to infants who are deemed high-risk.

Nurse Anesthetist Programs

Nurse anesthetist programs train licensed registered nurses to administer anesthesia, either independently or as part of a team. These types of nurse practitioners are knowledgeable in regard to various anesthesia techniques, such as general or local, and may work in hospitals or physician’s offices.

Oncology Nurse Practitioner Programs

Oncology nurse practitioner programs prepare graduates to provide palliative care to children and adults with cancer. Those who earn oncology nurse practitioner degrees can assist patients with symptom management and life care skills. Oncology nurse practitioners offer services to patients’ families as well.

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Programs

Acute care nurse practitioner programs are among the nurse practitioner degree programs that prepare nurses for a highly specialized career. Acute care nurse practitioners, or ACNPs, are trained to administer critical care to patients in the same capacity as that of a doctor. The degree program is advanced and requires participants to have a registered nurse license.

Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

Geriatric nurse practitioner programs are designed for students who desire careers as nurses for elderly patients. Upon completion of a geriatric nurse practitioner program, these types of nurses can provide patients with bedside care, life skills assistance, and health promotion advice.

Nurse Educator Programs

Graduates of nurse educator programs are prepared for careers as nursing teachers in a hospital or university environment. People who earn this type of nurse practitioner degree are qualified to train both entry-level and practicing nurses in learning new skills.