Want to Advance as a Nurse? Become a Practitioner

Registered nurses who are seeking career advancement can continue their education to become a nurse practitioner. This type of advancement can mean increases in salary, higher positions, and a more specialized field of work. According to Salary.com, while Registered Nurses can annually earn anything from $56,000 to $68,000, Nurse Practitioners can earn somewhere from $72,000 to $100,000 annually, depending on specialty, experience, and setting. Nurse Practitioners are able to work more independently than Registered Nurses and therefore are able to hold higher positions. They are able to provide comprehensive patient care in the long term, so they can be more involved with their patients who see them regularly and not just for one office visit. Just like Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners are able to specialize in different medical areas like geriatrics, pediatrics, and neonatal. The difference is that they hold advanced degrees, so they are able to work in their area of interest at a more advanced level than those who do not.

Nurse Practitioners are Registered Nurses who have completed their nursing education on an advanced level. This nursing position was created by state medical boards that saw a need for physicians to be freed up from having to conduct routine duties. Nurse Practitioners provide a wider variety of health care services than that of a regular nurse. They are even qualified to conduct some of the same duties as physicians, like the diagnosing and treating of common illnesses through conducting physical examinations and prescribing medicine. In order to educate their patients about health and treatment options, they provide health counseling. Although they regularly work independently and can serve as a patient’s primary health care provider, they still are closely involved with physicians and specifically work under a medical doctor.

If you want to advance in your nursing career by becoming a Nurse Practitioner, you will need to continue your education by earning a master’s degree in nursing through a state-approved training program. These types of programs can focus on a specialty in family practice, internal medicine, and women’s health. Typically, one must have experience working several years as a Registered Nurse before they can be accepted into a Nurse Practitioner program at a hospital or university. Upon completing an advanced degree, one must become licensed before they can work as a Nurse Practitioner. Generally, each state has its own licensing and certification criteria, which usually includes clinical experience along with completion of a nursing program.

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