Nurse Practitioners are advanced registered nurses who provide care similar to that of RNs but with additional responsibilities. Most states allow them to diagnose patients, order tests and prescribe medication. Nurse Practitioners, sometimes called APRNs, might work independently, collaboratively with physicians, or both. They frequently specialize, such as providing care for children or women who are pregnant.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities
- Talk with patients and record their medical history
- Examine and diagnose patients
- Order medical tests
- Prescribe medication
- Develop treatment plans for patients
- Monitor progress and adjust treatment as needed
- Counsel patients and their families
- Consult with doctors and other medical professionals
- Conduct research
Education and Background
Nurse Practitioners must have a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in nursing or science and a master’s degree from an accredited program. Students must earn a Registered Nurse (RN) license before entering an advanced practice program. Many APRN candidates take a national certification exam, which is part of the licensing process. Nurse Practitioners also should get certified in CPR, basic life support, and advanced cardiac life support.
Skills and Competencies
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Strong interpersonal skills for dealing with patients, doctors, and staff
- Discretion and the ability to handle confidential information
- Leadership skills for managing other nurses
- Ability to multitask and prioritize workload
- Compassion and a calm, caring demeanor
- Strong problem-solving skills
- Keen attention to detail
According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Nurse Practitioner with
1 year of experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $72,000
- Tampa, Florida: $76,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $85,000
- Miami, Florida: $82,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $81,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $79,000
- Houston, Texas: $90,000
- Los Angeles, California: $80,000
- New York, New York: $88,000
- Seattle, Washington: $83,000
- Overall: $81,000
5 years of experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $80,000
- Tampa, Florida: $105,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $100,000
- Miami, Florida: $90,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $95,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $113,000
- Houston, Texas: $110,000
- Los Angeles, California: $110,000
- New York, New York: $115,000
- Seattle, Washington: $117,000
- Overall: $102,000
Similar Job Titles
- Nurse Midwife
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Registered Nurse
- Physician Assistant
- Physical Therapist
- Occupational Therapist
The first step to becoming a Nurse Practitioner is to earn a high school diploma or its equivalent. A bachelor’s degree is required, ideally in nursing, followed by a master’s degree from an accredited program. These programs include rigorous science classes and hands-on clinical experience. A candidate needs to be licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN) before studying for advanced practice. Most states require APRN candidates to pass a certification exam and earn their license from an organization such as the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
One trend is for Nurse Practitioners to continue their education and earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, which usually takes three to four years for someone who received a bachelor’s in nursing. A DNP isn’t required but will enhance a candidate’s career prospects and earning potential.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses will continue to be in high demand because they can provide many of the same services that physicians do.
Some hospitals provide tuition reimbursement for nurses who are pursuing advanced degrees.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for Nurse Practitioners is expected to grow by 26 percent over the next several years, which is much faster than average. The aging baby-boom population will increase demand for medical services — Nurse Practitioners in particular because of their advanced training and versatility.
Nurse Practitioners work a variety of schedules because some health-care facilities are open early in the morning, late at night, or 24 hours a day. As a result, Nurse Practitioners might work evenings, weekends, or holidays. They frequently log more than 40 hours a week and often are on call, meaning they must be available to work on short notice. APRNs sometimes need to travel to provide care in rural areas or patients’ homes.
Where You Can Find Jobs
- 4 Corner Resources
- Career Builder
- Zip Recruiter
- Explore Health Careers
- Health eCareers
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