How to Become A Nurse Practitioner Online?
Opportunities are increasing for graduate-prepared nurses in the area of primary care. The family physician population is aging, older doctors are retiring, and fewer and fewer young doctors are coming out of training to replace them. According to a survey published in JAMA in September 2008, only 2% of fourth-year medical students plan to work in primary care after graduation, despite the need for a 40% increase in the number of primary care physicians in the U.S. by 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in November 2007 that the employment outlook for advanced practice nurses as lower-cost, primary care providers is strong.
Nurse Practitioners As The Provider Of Choice
Under growing pressure to balance quality and cost, health planners are relying increasingly on nurse practitioners as the providers of choice for a range of front-line health services, such as primary and preventive care, managing chronic health conditions in older people, and teaching patients how to avoid injury and the expense of hospitalization and nursing home care. Mounting studies show that the quality of Nurse Practitioner care is equal to, and at times better than, comparable services by physicians, and often lower cost.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses (RNs) who are prepared, through advanced education and clinical training, to provide preventive and acute health-care services to individuals of all ages. Today, most NPs complete graduate-level education that leads to a master’s degree. They work independently and collaboratively on the health-care team.”
Nurse practitioners can provide many of the primary care services that physicians provide, including performing physical exams; diagnose and treat common acute illnesses and injuries; provide immunizations; manage high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic problems; order and interpret X-rays and other lab tests; and counsel patients on disease prevention and health care options.
Nurse Practitioners not only meet basic health care needs in rural areas and inner cities -- sites not adequately served by physicians -- but deliver quality primary care to other under-served populations, such as children in school settings and the elderly. Some NPs have independent practices and can be reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid, or other third parties.
The U.S. could save as much as $8.75 billion annually if Nurse Practitioners were used appropriately in the place of physicians according to one study. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has obligated $200 million to address shortages of healthcare providers by plans to train more Nurse Practitioners, Physicians, and Dentists under Titles VII and VIII of the Public Health Service Act. The statement from Congress accompanying the legislation specifically identifies Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development loan repayment and scholarship programs as recipients of the stimulus funding.
Urgent Need for NP’s at Community Health Centers
For more than four decades, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has provided grant support for Health Centers that provide high-quality preventive and primary health care to medically under-served residents in cities and isolated rural areas.
Community Health Centers provide comprehensive services that include pharmacy, mental health, substance abuse and oral health treatment, as well as supportive services that promote access to health care and ensure patient well-being.
One of every 19 people living in the U.S. now relies on a HRSA-funded clinic for primary care. Nurse Practitioners are in great demand to provide primary care services in these community health clinics.
Nearly $3 billion in Recovery Act funding will support the expansion, improvement, and renovation of HRSA funded community health centers and other programs that serve patients in communities across the country to better serve the nation’s most vulnerable families. $155 million is dedicated towards establishing 126 new community health centers across the United States, and each of them will require the services of Nurse Practitioners.
Nurse Practitioner Educational Requirements
A master`s degree in nursing is the basic educational requirement that allows registered nurses to work as nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, certified clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse anesthetists.
Online RN to MSN Bridge Programs
A growing number of accredited online RN to MSN bridge programs are available to transition RNs with diplomas and associate degrees to the master’s degree level (MSN, MS or Master of Science in Nursing degree). These programs prepare nurses to assume positions requiring graduate preparation, including the advanced practice roles of Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Certified Nurse-Midwife and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Master’s degree-prepared nurses are in high demand as expert clinicians, nurse executives, clinical educators, health policy consultants, and research assistants.
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Online Master of Science in Nursing Programs
Accredited online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree programs meet the needs of working BSN prepared nurses by offering the flexibility to learn on your own schedule wherever and whenever it’s convenient. Online MSN programs are designed to prepare graduates with the knowledge necessary to provide expert clinical care and related health care services and programs to individuals, families, and groups of people across the lifespan in a variety of acute care and community settings.
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Become a Nurse Practitioner OnlineAchieve the education you need to turn your career dreams into reality. Explore featured accredited online Nurse Practitioner programs and request additional information directly from any of our featured schools. Must be licensed as a registered nurse and be a graduate of an accredited BSN program or hold a BS with a major in Nursing to request information.
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