Practitioner programs teach students how to provide an advanced level of clinical care to a broad spectrum of patients. This type of program provides training relating to performing physical examinations, prescribing medications, interpreting x-rays, and treating a variety of conditions.
Nurse Practitioner Education and Training
There is the option of undertaking a specialization, for example in a field such as women’s health, adult practice, geriatric care, family practice, and acute care. There can also be the option of learning about prenatal care, mental health, illness prevention, and health behavior counseling. Though there is the option of choosing a nurse practitioner program as a component of a master’s degree, there is also the possibility of enrolling for a postmasters certification program.
Nursing practitioner programs would likely have a focus in a specific concentration area. All nursing students would be expected to undertake courses relating to research principles, health care ethics, advanced pharmacology, principles of epidemiology, advanced physiology, public policy, and informatics. Other core coursework may include:
- Healthcare management and administration
- Advanced Assessment and Diagnostics
- Integrative Practicum
The syllabus in nurse practitioner courses would likely build upon the knowledge already obtained, and would vary dependent upon the specialization. There may be a need to complete a research project prior to graduation, especially if the study is undertaken as a component of a master’s degree.
Most employers in the healthcare industry expect that applicants who are interested in taking up a role as a nursing practitioner obtain or work towards earning certification. There are a couple of bodies in the US who offer certification exams, to be eligible to sit for one of the tests you must hold a current RN license as well as a master’s degree from an accredited school. As of 2011, the test involved one hundred and fifty multiple-choice questions, and upon successful completion, the certification lasts for five years.
Nurse Practitioner Careers
Most graduates from a specialized nursing practitioner course would be qualified to sit for a number of specialist certification exams. Entry qualifications depend upon the level at which the program is to be studied, most schools would expect that applicants have a background in the healthcare industry.
Unlike a regular RN, most nurse practitioners would be allowed to work as primary care providers and also prescribe medication. Through their studies, students would develop an understanding as to how to provide primary care services and develop a degree of autonomy in a healthcare environment. Upon graduation, nurse practitioners should have excellent leadership skills, as well as advanced abilities relating to research, communication, and diagnostic concepts.
Estimated Income and Projected Job Outlook
There are a number of possible employment opportunities upon graduating from nursing practitioner programs positions are available in settings such as pediatric clinics and primary health care centers. The average salary for a nurse practitioner currently ranges from $65,000 to $94,000, depending upon such factors as area of specialization and the demands of the employer. Those nurses working in specialty and emergency care are offered the most attractive packages.
The median annual wage of registered nurses was $64,690 in 2010 as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The lowest 10% earned less than $44,190 and the top 10% earned more than $95,130. In addition: Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners averaged $71,490. Earnings were as follows:
- General medical and surgical hospitals; private – $66,650
- Offices of physicians – $62,880
- General medical and surgical hospitals; local – $62,690
- Home health care services – $60,690
- Nursing care facilities – $58,180
The employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 26% from 2010 to 2020.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that from 2008 to 2018, there will be an increase in employment opportunities for all nurses in the range of 7% to 13%. Graduates of nursing practitioner programs will therefore be well positioned to take on leadership roles. This trend will be in part due to retirement, broadening of services, and an increase in demand from the public.
Nurse Practitioner Programs
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- Practical Nursing - Diploma
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