Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner
The medical world is advancing every day, and with innovations comes the need for more efficient healthcare workers. In such a scenario, the demand for nurses increases, and their requirement in the field is much appreciable. Being a nurse practitioner is helpful in a time like this because of the vast career outlook and the growing necessity. We live in uncertain times, and indeed, being an honest and proficient healthcare member could do some good to the world.
Suppose you are looking to start or expand your medical career and want to go for something worth the comprehensive study and long work-hours. In that case, being a nurse practitioner is a great option. However, the education process is quite lengthy, and there some pre-requisite for being a practitioner. But don't worry, we've got you covered with a step-by-step guide to becoming a nurse practitioner.
Who Is a Nurse Practitioner?
A Nurse Practitioner has earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) and is certified to be an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). They have similar responsibilities as doctors and more decision-making power than a Registered Nurse (RN). They work as promoters and advocates of health and disease prevention in their patients.
What Is the Work of a Nurse Practitioner?
Nurse Practitioners have various responsibilities, but they do vary according to the state's rules and regulations. These laws restrict them from offering some services, prescribing medications, and deciding if they can work independently or under licensed doctors. Generally, They have tasks to conduct lab tests, check-ups, treat infections, and check up on prescriptions. Nurse practitioner's level of responsibility increases with their experience. Today with the ease of online learning, many RN are willing to opt for online MSN to experience career growth. They are capable of providing treatment just like physicians and even diagnosing ailments. They do not only examine patients but care for them just as a doctor would.
How to Become a Nurse Practitioner?
The profession is a prestigious one for many reasons. One of those is that NPs have a wide variety of skills because of their extensive educational background. It takes quite some time to become a professional Nurse Practitioner, but it's worth the hard work. Here is step-by-step guidance on how to become a nurse practitioner:
1. Become an RN
Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) is the first step towards being an NP. You can do it in many ways – through a diploma, an associate, or a non-nursing bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. It is better to have a college degree because many healthcare sectors now demand it from clinical employees. Many students opt to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), which also requires them to pass the standardized national examination and acquire a license from the state.
2. Acquire a BSN
The next step is to get a bachelor's in nursing sciences if it's not included in your RN program already. It is essential to have a BSN to go for a graduate degree, majoring in nursing. This bachelor's plan would allow you to enhance the necessary skills, such as management, communication, and supervision. It will also help you develop long-lasting and comprehensive clinical knowledge. You could go for BSN right after completing your high-school. Still, many nurses opt to gain some medical experience after getting an RN or LPN before continuing the studies.
3. Gain Experience
For many RNs and BSN-holding nurses, the NP's path is straight-up, going from BSN to MSN. A speedy approach can leave you without much practice in the field due to a lack of experience. Hence, it is essential to gain some advanced-level practice in a hospital or a clinical level experience in a healthcare facility before seeking NP's certification. Individuals pursuing this path know various skills such as addressing the patients, maintaining communication with them, and completing the task effectively and efficiently. They learn to work in different medical environments on their own and as a team.
4. Score a Graduate Degree
Earning a graduate degree is the foremost requirement of becoming a nurse practitioner. Some medical schools may require you to complete RN hours before joining them, while some would allow you to practice while studying. Such experience provides essential choices to decide your potential specialization and to be competent in it. The most in-demand right now is the MSN, as it is the minimum pre-requisite of becoming an NP. But a DNP is growing to be just similar in demand. The graduate program enables you to gain analytical knowledge regarding diagnosis, anatomy, and medical ethics. They offer both educational and clinical experience in the form of broad coursework and also, extensive training. The books cover subjects like pharmacology and physiology or specialized classes like primary care or health system management.
5. Earn Advanced Practice Nursing Licensure in Practical Nursing
Every state of the USA has its licensing requirement, but they agree that every NP should have a license. Before you start your training and education, search all these essentials up and complete the pre-requisites. If the NP licensure candidate has a Master's degree in nursing, a valid RN license according to the state, and passes the national certification exam – they get in. Moreover, they ask the candidates to complete a specific number of clinical hours under supervision before issuing the licensure.
What are the Specialties of Nurse Practitioners?
Besides educational expertise, some skills and specialties are necessary to ensure a nurse practitioner's success. Firstly, they should have excellent communication skills to manage everyday tasks with effective management and direction to those who work under them. Secondly, they should possess exceptional analytical skills, which help make prompt and effective decisions – a widespread occurrence in their career path. Thirdly, they should have strong leadership skills because working in a team of people and as a head of several RNs will have to organize and lead others. This skill will help them maintain a good work environment and healthy work relationships, which will assist in carrying out operations smoothly. Fourthly, it is essential that as an NP, you are skilled enough to handle stressful situations and develop an effective plan of action even under stress. As an NP, please retain a core competency or more because that's what hiring managers are primarily looking for – it could be your quality of work, speed, or educational background.
The process might seem lengthy and time-consuming, but it's worth it. A nurse practitioner's career outlook is exceptionally vast; you can specialize anywhere from acute care to psychiatric. And above all, it is a valuable and much-trusted profession. Thus, if you are looking up for a start to your professional medical journey, this is where you start.