Features of Pursuing A Nurse Practitioner Program
A Nurse Practitioner`s practice incorporates a special blend of medicine and nursing that helps bridge the gap between patient care and cure. In 1965, the University of Colorado became the birthplace of the nurse practitioner and caring movements, becoming one of the first schools to offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Born out of a need to bring more accessible care to children, it has blossomed into a practice that presents today`s nurse practitioners with unique advantages such as increased authority, freedom, income, and job satisfaction.
Registered nurses looking for a career option that offers a stimulating practice environment, challenges, and a large degree of autonomy may find becoming a nurse practitioner very rewarding. A Nurse Practitioner`s responsibilities include many duties once only performed by physicians. Some of these include patient examinations, going over medical history, diagnosing and treating injuries and infections, ordering and examining diagnostic tests, as well as writing prescriptions. With a little closer examination, we can see some of the tasks performed by Nurse Practitioners regularly.
Educating and advocating healthier lifestyles are but two of the main objectives of the Nurse Practitioner. Communicating with empathy is important to narrow the divide between patient and professional also. Through their unique expertise and perspective, Nurse Practitioners meet comprehensive and complex patient needs through:
- Obtaining medical history
- Physically examining the patient
- Conducting preventative tests such as for vision and hearing
- Recognizing any risks the patient may be exposed to and summarize the patients needs
- Ordering any diagnostic tests the patient may need
- Assess patient health, medical history, and diagnostic tests
Developing And Administering Patient Health Care Plan
- Ascertain needs of patient and family based on subjective and objective information collected
- Actualizing a comprehensive care plan
- Provide and encourage positive health care education
- Regularly reassess and make modifications to plan of care in order to achieve health care goals
- When necessary, make referrals to appropriate health care professionals
Looking past technical skills, character traits play an integral role in deciding to further your career from Registered Nurse to Nurse Practitioner. The ability to exhibit maturity, sound judgment, compassion and understanding are all qualities of a good candidate. Inspiring both peers and patients positively and remaining calm in tense situations are additional hallmarks of an ideal candidate. Opportunity for professional independence is there for Nurse Practitioners that exhibit these qualities.
Nurse Practitioners specialize in practice areas that may include:
Nurse Practitioners specialize in practice areas that may include:
1. Pediatric Nurse Practitioners provide pediatric health care to well and ill infants, children and adolescents. PNP`s provide health maintenance care for children, including well child examinations, perform routine developmental screenings, diagnose and treat common childhood illnesses, provide anticipatory guidance regarding common child health concerns, provide childhood immunizations, perform school physicals, and provide individualized quality health care for children and families in an extensive range of practice settings.
2. Neonatal Nurse Practitioners, specialize in the advanced practice in providing care for newborns with a variety of conditions requiring individual treatment in in hospital neonatal intensive care units, or NICUs. Prematurity, sepsis, respiratory distress, and disorders or abnormalities requiring surgery are a few of the common diagnoses found among infants in NICUs. Neonatal Nurse Practitioners manage neonatal patients using extensive knowledge of pathophysiology, pharmacology, and physiology, the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner exercises independent judgment in the assessment, diagnosis and initiation of nursing and delegated medical processes and procedures.
3. Adult/Family Nurse Practitioners provide primary nursing and medical services to individuals, families and groups, emphasizing health promotion and disease prevention as well as the diagnosis and management of acute and chronic diseases primarily in outpatient, ambulatory settings, and community health center settings. FNP`s provide comprehensive medical services in the health management of patients, coordinate referrals when needed, and provide follow-up care.
4. Nurse-Midwifery Practitioners provide primary as well as specialized care to antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum and newborn patients across multiple locations such as birthing centers, hospitals, and outpatient clinics.
5. Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) are advanced practice nurses who administer anesthesia. CRNAs practice in every setting where anesthesia is available and are the sole anesthesia providers in more than two-thirds of all rural hospitals. They administer every type of anesthetic, and provide care for every type of surgery or procedure, from open heart to cataract to pain management.
6. Gerontological Nurse Practitioners provide primary health care for older adults in a wide variety of practice settings. GNP`s diagnose and manage acute and chronic diseases, taking a holistic approach to meet the medical, psychosocial and functional needs of older persons.
Benefits Of Becoming A Nurse Practitioner may Include
The benefits of advancing your career to a higher level of practice are many and varied. Increasing your level of autonomy and personal job satisfaction aside, Nurse practitioners may earn anywhere from $72,000 to $100,000 plus per year depending on experience, specialty, and practice setting as per Bureau of Labor Statistics data of May 2010. Nurse Practitioners frequently work alongside doctors in private practice settings, but also work in their own clinics, in hospitals, in government service, for corporations, and for major insurers.
Nurse Practitioners practice independently under the statutes of Nurse Practice Acts that govern their individual state, and can open their own practice or practice in groups just like physicians, unlike Physician Assistants, who must work under the direction of a physician.
Salary is only one satisfying element of a Nurse Practitioner career. Being able to practice more independently and to provide more long term and comprehensive patient care may provide personal satisfaction. Knowing you make a real difference for the better in people`s lives is priceless.
Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
- M.S. in Nursing with an Emphasis in Leadership in Health Care Systems (Bridge)
- M.S. in Nursing: Health Care Informatics (Bridge)
- M.S. in Nursing: Public Health (Bridge)
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