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What is a Nurse Practitioner? Schooling, Programs, Jobs & Salary

what is nurse practitioner

In almost every aspect of healthcare, from private practice and hospitals to home healthcare and skilled nursing institutions, nurse practitioners (NPs) are required. Around the world, nurses care for patients in several situations. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are RNs who have obtained a higher degree (APRN). In certain hospitals, these nurses can do extra duties and serve as primary care providers.

A nurse practitioner is qualified to diagnose illnesses, write prescriptions, and provide treatments since they hold at least a master’s degree.

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What is a Nurse Practitioner?

A nurse practitioner is a healthcare practitioner who provides a variety of urgent, primary, and specialized care services, either by themselves or in association with a doctor.

As primary care clinicians, nurse practitioners have a bigger responsibility. They are also essential to care in specialist medicine, which likewise faces a physician shortage. 

Generally speaking, NPs are educated in the evaluation, diagnosis, ordering, and interpretation of medical tests, as well as the prescribing of drugs and collaborating in patient care.

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What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do?

Generally speaking, Nurse Practitioners are educated in the evaluation, diagnosis, ordering, and interpretation of medical tests, as well as the prescribing of drugs and collaboration in patient care.

A nurse practitioner’s range of practice might differ from state to state and, on occasion, even from hospital to hospital. NPs practice in conjunction with a qualified physician in California.

The following are typical duties for nurse practitioners:

  • Collecting and documenting medical histories of patients 
  • Diagnosing illnesses, injuries, and acute problems
  • Address health concerns 
  • Preparing prescriptions for drugs
  • Ordering diagnostic procedures, including laboratory testing and X-rays
  • Creating therapeutic strategies
  • Providing the required medical care.
  • Patient education about medical conditions and procedures
  • Collaborate with an interdisciplinary team

Work environments for nurse practitioners include:

  • Hospitals and clinics.
  • Community clinics, schools, maternity wards
  • Patient residences

Types of Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners can opt to work in medical facilities, clinics, outpatient facilities, or educational institutions. The following sorts of nurse practitioners:

  • Family nurse practitioners: This is one of the most common types of nurse practitioners. Family nurse practitioners provide primary care to people of all ages.
  • Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner: These NPs offer primary mental health care to patients.
  • Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner: This type of nurse practitioner works within a hospital, offering immediate care to injured or ill elderly patients.
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist: Anesthetists administer anesthesia to patients during medical procedures.
  • Neonatal nurse practitioner: Neonatal nurse practitioners offer advanced care to newborns who are sick, injured, or born prematurely.
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner: Pediatric nurse practitioners provide primary care to patients under the age of 21.
  • Women’s health nurse practitioner: These NPs provide primary, acute, and OB/GYN care specifically to females. 

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What Skills Do Nurse Practitioners Need? 

Good interpersonal and critical thinking abilities top the list of prerequisites for nursing careers, but successful nurse practitioners also possess the following abilities:

  • Excellent active listening, planning, and time management abilities 
  • Accurate patient health history collection and physical exam techniques
  • Utilize modern medical technologies and keep abreast of any changes.
  • Interpret lab results and other data to write prescriptions for drugs
  • Coordinate treatment from admission to discharge from the hospital.
  • Manage referrals to specialty physicians while providing primary care in outpatient settings.

Physician Assistant VS Nurse Practitioner.

The sort of training is the primary distinction between a nurse practitioner and a doctor. Nurses are trained using the nursing model, whereas physicians are trained using the medical model, even though both roles are essential in patient education and communication.

The following are the key variations between the two:

  • The length of time needed to get a degree to practice
  • Different state licensing boards’ requirements for various types of licences

In every state, doctors are allowed to work autonomously and without the supervision of another practitioner. Many states allow nurse practitioners to work autonomously, while others require them to collaborate with doctors and work under their supervision.

What is the Salary of a Nurse Practitioner?

According to BLS statistics from 2020, the median annual wage for nurse practitioners in the US was $111,680. Your actual pay will, however, be based on your job, background, and field of expertise. As an illustration, nurses who work in outpatient care facilities are compensated above average.

Regarding location, the BLS reports that the average annual salary for nurse practitioners in California was $145,970 as of 2020, while the average annual compensation for nurse practitioners in Tennessee was $99,370 as of that same year.

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner?

Schooling to be a nurse practitioner:

Earning a degree that enables you to apply for RN licensing is the first step in becoming a nurse practitioner. A diploma, an associate degree in nursing (ADN), or a bachelor of science in nursing are all options (BSN).

Additionally, you’ll need to get a graduate degree. A doctor of nursing practise (DNP) or a master of nursing science (MSN) degree are both options. In your MSN or DNP programme, you’ll concentrate on a specialty and learn cutting-edge information.

The Following are the Schools with Online Nurse Practitioner (NP) Programs;

1. Georgetown University

One of the top academic and research institutions in the world, Georgetown University provides a values-based educational experience that equips the next generation of global citizens to lead and change the world. Since 1903, the Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS) has trained nursing executives.

  • Family Nursing Practitioner (FNP)
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)
  • Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (NM/WHNP)
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP)

2. Walden University

The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Walden, which has more than 40 years of experience assisting students in obtaining degrees. The teaching staff at Walden’s School of Nursing is completely doctorally-trained, and the university’s online nursing programmes adhere to strict criteria for academic excellence and integrity.

  • MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN – Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN – Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN – Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN – Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) Primary Care
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

3. GCU’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions

The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions at GCU has a nearly 35-year history of preparing students to enter the healthcare field as highly prepared professionals in roles that are constantly changing.

  • M.S.N.: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • M.S.N.: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology (ACNP)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

4. The University of Southern California

In order to train nurse practitioners to support patients across the lifetime, USC provides part-time and full-time online NP degree choices. USC assists in securing 748 clinical hours in addition to the 49 credits of live, online coursework that make up the programme.

The curriculum includes courses in pathophysiology, pharmacology, and community-based research. Two on-campus intensives are a requirement for the programme.

Programs: Master of science in nursing

Campus: Los Angeles, CA

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  • Carryer, J., Gardner, G., Dunn, S., & Gardner, A. (2007). The core role of the nurse practitioner: practice, professionalism and clinical leadership. Journal of Clinical Nursing16(10), 1818-1825.
  • Bailey, P., Jones, L., & Way, D. (2006). Family physician/nurse practitioner: stories of collaboration. Journal of advanced nursing53(4), 381-391.

Article by
Skillshouter Team


  • skillshouter Team

    At SkillShouter, we help you find the best tutorials, courses, and certifications online. Experts come together to handpick great courses for needy learners. We provide demanding high-quality, well-researched reviews, and comparisons for those looking to start online and campus courses.

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