- A nurse practitioner (NP) is a sort of mid-level practitioner that specializes in advanced practice registered nursing. Nurse practitioners are trained to evaluate patient requirements, order and interpret diagnostic and laboratory tests, diagnose disease, and design and administer treatment strategies.
- The fundamental distinction between a registered nurse and a nurse practitioner is the scope of practice. Nurse practitioners now have a lot more freedom. Nurse practitioners in some states are allowed to work independently and have their own offices. Registered nurses, on the other hand, work under the supervision of a clinician such as a doctor or a nurse practitioner.
- The fact that all doctors can prescribe medication to patients as part of their job is a major distinction between physicians and nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners can prescribe medications as well, although, in some places, they must be closely supervised by a doctor or physician.
A minimum of a four-year degree in nursing is required. You’ll need to pursue a master’s degree program in nurse practitioner training after completing your BSN. NP degrees are what they’re called. NP degrees can take anything from two to four years to complete.
How to become a Nurse practitioner
- REGISTER TO WORK AS A NURSE
Becoming a registered nurse is the first step toward becoming a nurse practitioner. Enroll in either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) program to do this.
- GRADUATE WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE
If you don’t already have a BSN, you should consider enrolling in a nursing science program and earning your BSN. Nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) can participate in expedited RN-BSN programs, many of which can be done entirely online. If you want to bypass the process of getting your Bachelor’s degree, you can go straight from your ADN to an MSN program. (We’ll get into that in step four.)
- EXTEND YOUR NURSING EXPERIENCE
Some nurses will skip this phase and enroll directly in a graduate school, while others will wait until they have a few years of experience before continuing their studies.
- APPLY FOR GRADUATE PROGRAMS (MSN OR DNP)
Earning a master’s degree is the most straightforward path to becoming a nurse practitioner for RNs with a bachelor’s degree.
There are RN-to-MSN programs for RNs who do not have a bachelor’s degree. ADN-to-MSN (Associate Degree in Nursing to Master’s Degree) programs are also available.
Doctoral degrees, such as Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs, are available at some universities and are the highest level of nursing education possible.
- IN PRACTICAL NURSING, EARN YOUR ADVANCED PRACTICE NURSING LICENSURE.
Individual states set the standards for NP license, so you’ll have to look out the prerequisites for becoming an NP in the state where you want to work. There has also been talk of a nationwide model for NP licensure, however, it currently varies by state. Complete state-by-state requirements for becoming an NP can be found here; be careful to double-check with the school you intend to attend.
- GET YOUR FIRST POSITION AS A NURSE PRACTITIONER
Congratulations! You’ve completed your education and are now ready to begin your career as a nurse practitioner. To find a career as a nurse, you can work with a nurse recruiter or look at nursing employment boards.