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Nurse Practitioner - What they do and how to become a NP?

Training Required to Become a Nurse Practitioner

A Nurse Practitioner is an Advanced-practice nurse, which requires a minimum of a Master of Science in Nursing degree.

Nurse Practitioners complete National Board exams in their specialty field and state licensing exams.

What do Nurse Practitioners do?

Nurse Practitioners can complete patient histories, diagnosis, physical exams and even prescribe certain medications. Depending of the specialty of the NP, they can sometimes act as primary care providers instead of a doctor. This could reduce patient costs and increase availability to medical care in areas with insufficient number of doctors.

Depending on the individual state licensing regulations, some NP's work independently and some work in collaboration with physicians. NP's concentrate their work on preventive and wellness care. They are typically involved with research trials and education.

Today, there is a shortage in primary care and Nurse Practitioner help to fill the gap. They also focus their treatment on the person as a whole through lifestyle changes, education and disease prevention. The other main advantage for patients when turning to Nurse Practitioners for care is cost-savings both direct and indirect.

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners is the largest NP related organization geared toward furthering the quality and duties of Nurse Practitioners across the US. It is helpful for nurses to belong to professional organizations which can help them grow in their fields through education and mentorship. The AANP provides access to continuing education credit through conferences and courses to assist nurses in staying current with their licensing requirements.

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