As the medical world evolves, we are seeing new positions and functions growing in popularity. One great example of this is the nurse practitioner. 916 million Americans visit nurse practitioners for their medical needs each year, and this number is anticipated to grow. Becoming a nurse practitioner is a great way for those in the profession to be able to provide a higher standard of care to their patients with greater autonomy. Of course, it requires time and investment in order to actually reach this point. Here’s a full look at what nurse practitioners do and what your standard nurse needs to do to get this designation.
What Does A Nurse Practitioner Do?
The easiest way to define a nurse practitioner compared to their conventional counterparts is that a practitioner provides primary, acute, and even specialty healthcare services for their patient. The additional training that they have gives them the authorization to do things like diagnose sickness, treat conditions (including prescribing medicine) as well as providing health education for patients. This is a marked shift from nurses. While nurses are a critical part of the healthcare machine, they work in a supplementary role as well as standard patient care, in keeping with the doctor’s guidance or suggestions. In 20 states, nurse practitioners don’t actually need any doctor’s supervision at all.
Nurse practitioners can act on their increased education to actually lead that guidance. This can include looking at medical history, doing evaluations, or even performing diagnostics and determining what issues a patient may have. Compared to your conventional doctor, nurses also bring the unique skillsets of a nurse to the fore as well. For example, along with being a healthcare provider, a nurse practitioner is a counselor and consultant to their patients about their health. The general focus of a nurse practitioner is to place an emphasis on disease prevention and general healthy living practices. This can be different from say, an emergency nurse who attends to doctors in critical need.
So, what exactly makes nurse practitioners such a critical part of our healthcare system? For one thing, they can fulfill approximately 80% to 90% of the duties that a general doctor can. This makes them a critical resource for those that may not be able to see a primary doctor due to financial issues, geographic issues, or a lack of appropriate insurance coverage. In addition, nurse practitioners provide practical experience that a nurse brings along with doctor-level expertise. Some patients have bad experiences with doctors due to poor bedside manner or other issues. Nurse practitioners are a good substitute specifically because their experience as a nurse means they have more experience in direct patient relations.
Becoming A Nurse Practitioner
If you are in the nursing profession, there are quite a few reasons to consider raising your station. First, as we mentioned earlier, this gives you a lot more authority in terms of how you can help patients and provide care. Second, it provides you a degree of financial independence, and in some cases, could be more lucrative than being a practicing nurse. With that said, this type of responsibility doesn’t come easily. What does a nurse need to do to become a nurse practitioner? For the sake of this conversation, we’ll say that the person in this scenario is already a currently practicing nurse.
The first step is progressing your education. Becoming a nurse practitioner places you under the concept of advanced-practice nursing. This means that anyone interested needs to get a Masters of Science in Nursing for starters. At this point, aspiring nurse practitioners also need to consider what they want their area of focus to be. This is because they will need to get additional clinical training in their nursing area of choice. For example, a nurse practitioner may choose to focus on pediatric care or mental health.
When they complete their clinical training and degree, they will need to take a national certification exam. Nurses should also look at state rules, as depending on where you want to practice, you may need to get additional qualifications. One thing that’s common across all states is the fact that nurse practitioners need to renew and recertify their status every few years. There are a few ways that you can do this, either by retaking the certification exam or taking continuing education/training. This ensures nurse practitioners are following current guidelines and information.
If you are on the fence whether or not this is worth the investment, it’s important for you to decide what is best for you. For some nurses who enjoy the convenience of being part of a larger hospital or practice, it may make more sense for you to stay as a nurse and support patients that way. Nurse practitioners aren’t necessarily a position that every nurse aspires to be.
For those interested in becoming a nurse practitioner, with the additional capacity to help your patients comes additional responsibility and time investment. This makes it important for nurse practitioners as well as nurses looking to advance to this point to have as many methods available to save time as possible.
A good place for you to start saving some of this time is via online medical certification. Whether you are servicing patients or pursuing the studies to become a nurse practitioner, you don’t want to clog your time with unnecessary hours spent in a classroom. With recertification being required as a part of the job, this is especially important. Looking up certification online gives you the ability to bypass this issue while still getting the qualifications and information you need. However, for something this important, you want to partner with providers that you can trust. This means that all nurse practitioners should look to ProMed for their recertification. Our certification and recertification courses keep to guidelines set by the AHA and ILCOR. If you are not satisfied, we have a 100% money-back guarantee as well.