A Nurse Practitioner is a special type of Registered Nurse who can practice medicine. They are often compared to doctors or physicians due to this. Often referred to as mid-level health care providers, they can treat you as well as primary health care providers. They must undergo additional education and training to reach this point. Let us look at some of the education requirements of a nurse practitioner.
High School Degree
It is essential to have a high school degree for any career. If you are particularly fixated on choosing medical science as a career option, then you should probably take courses such as anatomy, physiology, chemistry and biology. If you are still exploring your options, choosing almost any course will do. However, the above courses may give you an advantage over the other candidates. Additionally, you may try to work at a hospital as an internship to get a letter of recommendation which will help you to get into the best medical colleges.
Bachelor of Science
One of the steps to becoming an NP is first becoming a Registered Nurse. To do this one needs first get a bachelor’s degree. Technically speaking, this can be any bachelor’s degree as long as it is a field of science. However, it gives you more credibility as a nurse if this degree is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). This course will teach you all the basics and help you to do clinical rounds so you have some experience in the field.
This undergraduate program needs to be accredited by any of the recognized bodies such as American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) or Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). If it is not recognized by such institutions, then you won’t be eligible to take the RN licensure exam.
To become an NP, you need to hold a graduate’s degree in Nursing. The most common graduate’s degrees are – Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor or Nursing Practice (DNP). These can be pursued separately after a bachelor’s degree in science. Or you could choose an alternate route and go for bridge programs. These include RN-MSN, accelerated BSN, LPN-MSN (LPN is Licensed Practical Nurse) and many others. These courses are offered at any community college and can also prepare you to be an NP. The MSN degree can be earned in some specialty of nursing (family, adult, pediatrics) or it can be a general one too.
After this, you need to get certified by the nursing board. This can be either a local licensure or a national licensure. The national licensure is achieved through the American Nurses Credentialing Centre (ANCC). After you pass this exam, you become a certified nurse practitioner. However, there is still scope to learn more.
After completing your education to become a nurse practitioner, you can further develop your skills to specialize in one of the fields of nursing. This will also help you earn more in the long run. Nurse Practitioner Anesthesiologists are one of the highest earning professionals in this field. The various certifications that you can get depend on your choice of specialization. You could choose to specialize in Family, Geriatrics, Adult, Pediatric, Psychiatric, Acute care, Emergency and even Diabetes Management. Here is a list of the certifications a nurse can achieve through his or her own efforts. All it requires is a bit of training and some more education.
As you can see, it is not easy being a nurse practitioner. You need to undergo a lot of training and education to become one. It is because of this reason, that nurse practitioners are paid quite high. Besides, you get to go home knowing that you made a lot of people feel better that day. You could even save a life someday. See you during our next check up!