Nurse practitioner (NP) is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (NPRN) who provides comprehensive care to patients. A Nurse Practitioner is one who has earned either Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and completed training and certification.
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Because of this advanced training, a nurse practitioner (NP) has more authority than a registered nurse (RN). Sometimes NP has similar responsibilities to that of a doctor.
So, Nurse Practitioners are the most educated individuals in the nursing career. Their duties usually are caring for patients and are given the medical right to administer medicine to patients.
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Steps of becoming a nurse practitioner:
Table of Contents
Step 1: Become a Registered Nurse (RN)
Before you become an NP, you must be a registered nurse. Enrol for an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN) program. AND programs take two years, while BSN takes four years to complete. By choosing either program, you can become a registered nurse.
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Alternatively, you can combine the steps of becoming an RN and earn a bachelor’s degree. One can pursue accelerated tracks that may be available for those who have previously made bachelor’s degrees in non-nursing fields.
The degree offers students’ base knowledge to assist them in gaining placement in a medical setting.
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Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
The next phase of becoming a nurse practitioner is earning a bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree program in nursing includes a substantial component and course designed to learn skills related to supervision, communication, research, management, and community health. Nurses with RN credential can opt for the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science (BSN) program.
You can also start a bachelor’s degree after gaining work experience in the field following your achievement of an LPN diploma or associate degree in nursing.
Step 3: Obtain a Registered Nurse (RN) License
You must earn an RN license before getting the NP credentials. You will be required to have a degree and passing score on the National Council for Licensure Exam (NCLEX) to get a license. Depending on your state, you may be required to pay an application fee and pass through a criminal check before permission is given.
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Step 4: Gain Experience
After completing the bachelor’s degree and getting a license, the next step is to get work. Many people who complete a BSN have already been working in a clinical setting. A nurse receives a lot of skills while caring for the patients. Other experience gained includes; collaboration, communication, and teamwork in the clinic setting.
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Some nurses start in medical surgery, which provides a strong foundation in caring for patients with different needs. But others begin in speciality areas and build their career.
Step 5: Enroll in a Graduate Program
For a registered nurse to become a practitioner nurse, the only route to go is earning a master’s degree. If the RN does not have bachelor’s degrees or hold them in different fields, some institutions offer special bridge programs.
This helps such nurses to earn their advanced degrees in nursing. These programs are called RN to MSN programs.
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Common topics learned to include human anatomy, applied statistics, and general chemistry. When using for NP, you will be required to submit standard application materials, such as academic transcripts, recommendation letters, GRE scores, and personal essays.
Nursing studies include both clinical training and classroom education. Coursework covers a wide range of subjects like physiology, anatomy, and pharmacology. You will also cover field-specific classes that explore family or primary care, paediatrics, health system management, gerontology, and many more.
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The time for completing MSN programs depends on the school’s requirements specialization learners take and program structure. Typically, a full-time student takes about two years to complete. But a part-time student can take up to 3 years.
Also, students’ specializations impact how long it takes to complete. Some specialities need more clinical hours than others. For example, one who is pursuing a specialization in nurse anesthesiology or neonatology must satisfy more hours than those pursuing specializations in women’s health or geriatrics.
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Step 6: Obtain a Nurse Practitioner State License and Certification
Each state has its specific license requirements. Therefore, there is a need to research the licensing requirements before starting your training. Usually, a candidate must hold a master’s degree in nursing, pass national certification exams, and have a different RN license.
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Depending on a candidate’s chosen area of specialization, certification for Nurse Practitioner is available from different professional associations. Some national organizations that give certification include the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.
Step 7: Pursue Specialization
Nurse Practitioner can specialize in the following areas:
- Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs). Usually, FNP works within family practices. They provide health services to patients of all ages. Most of the NPs are FNPs.
- Pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs); they work entirely with children, and they are skilled in children’s needs. PNPs work in pediatric clinics, private practice clinics, and school clinic settings.
- Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs); they work with patients with mental health directly. PMHNPs provide counselling, direct help to patients, and medication management.
- Women’s health nurse practitioners (WHNPs); these practitioners provide care to women.
- Adult-gerontology nurse practitioners (AGNPs); these practitioners work with patients of ages ranging from teen to old age.
Step 8: Start working as a Nurse Practitioner
You can work in hospitals, healthcare facilities, or nursing homes. Applying for a Nurse Practitioner will require a resume, license, and certifications.
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What are the Duties of a Nurse Practitioner?
The daily responsibilities of an NP include developing care plans, examinations, and ordering physical tests. Some concentrate on a role with options like psychiatric and mental health, primary care, pediatric acute care, and women’s health.
To become a nurse practitioner, you must complete an accredited nursing course and gain a BSN. After graduating with a degree in nursing, you must complete and pass NCLEX, license, and get the certification. The time it takes to become a Nurse Practitioner is determined by the nurse’s starting point.