What does a Nurse Practitioner do?
|Citation||Retrieved in 2017 from BLS.org|
A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse but with advanced classroom training and clinical education. A nurse practitioner is referred to as an advanced practice registered nurse or APRN. In simple words, a nurse practitioner is a registered nurse but with more education, training, and responsibilities than a general nurse.
How to Become a Nurse Practitioner
An aspiring nurse practitioner (NP) must attain a master’s degree or doctorate degree in nursing. You can go right through school and get your bachelor’s degree in nursing and continue on with your master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner. However, many decide to become an registered nurse first and then continue on to become a NP after gaining some experience. Either route you take you must get certified to practice.
In order to get certified you must earn your degree from a program that is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Once a student graduates from one of these programs they are eligible to sit for the advanced practice nursing license and are able to obtain certification in a specific patient population focus. Both of these have written exams that must be passed. Certifications are available from a number of professional organizations, including the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Check your state’s medical board for more information.
Job Description of a Nurse Practitioner
The job profile of a nurse practitioner is quite expansive, particularly in comparison with a registered nurse. A nurse practitioner is expected to be trained to attend to patients with complicated medical problems. A nurse practitioner could also be an integral member of surgery teams that engage in complicated procedures. A nurse practitioner would be trained and experienced in diagnosing medical conditions, prescribing medications, conducting tests, interpret test results, and carrying out medical procedures including but not limited to emergency care, anesthesia, and administering medicines.
A nurse practitioner is expected to be decisive and should have the ability to make on the spot decisions. One is also expected to either advice or concur with doctors and surgeons in certain circumstances. A nurse practitioner is often made in charge of a patient and he or she would directly report to the doctor or surgeon under whose care the patient is.
Nurse practitioner work full time and many are employed in a private clinic, health care center, or hospital. Those who work in physicians’ offices or schools work during normal business hours, however those who work at other medical settings work in shifts to provide round-the-clock patient care. This includes nights, weekends, holidays, and on call. This job can be physically and emotionally demanding. Nurse practitioners are on the feet most of the day and tend to many patients at the same time. They are prone to back injuries and are exposed to infectious diseases on a regular basis, but with the proper techniques and safety precautions a lot of this is preventable.