A nurse practitioner is that person who provides health care services like a physician. For your specialization, you can choose from the various departments of nursing like specialization in family, geriatric or pediatric nursing. Now you must be thinking how to become a nurse practitioner?
Some of the common duties of the nurse practitioners are:
• Treating illness
• Treating injuries
• Educating patients
• Prescribing medications
The job of a nurse practitioner can be very tiring and hard working as they work in the rotating shifts and have to spend most of their shifts on their feet. They also help in lifting the patients. Life and death decisions are also made by them that is why, their job is emotionally challenging also.
Firstly a person needs to take a bachelor’s degree in order to become an aspiring nurse practitioner. Bachelor’s program includes substantial clinical as well as teach skills. Some begin with majoring in a particular field.
Primary care to the patients is provided by the nurses. He/she records and examines the medical history of the patient, order diagnostic tests, perform physical examinations and also prescribe physical therapies. The requirements of the edification may vary according to the specialization, but a master’s degree is a must. Certain specialties are:
• Women’s Health
• Occupational Health
Some students directly opt the master’s program after completing their graduation while others choose to gain some experience in the particular field and then go for the master’s.
Master of Science in Nursing:
It takes around two to 3 years to finish this program. They make the students skilled enough to enter in the professional health settings. Graduates are eligible to get the professional certification. Some courses like:
• Nursing theories
• Health promotion
Ph.D. in Nursing:
After completing the masters, many students go to the doctoral degree program. It is not necessary, but it is good if you want to enhance your expertise and career opportunities. In these programs, students get to learn some advanced practices for the betterment of the patient needs. Some courses include:
• Capstone project
• Population health
• Behavior complexity
After the degrees, the only thing that is required to become a nurse practitioner is a licensure from the National Council Licensure Examination. As soon as you will pass the licensure exam you will be called as a chronicled nurse. It will be the proof that you have required skills to work in the field.
Nurse Practitioner Credentialing:
As we saw that graduates were eligible for the professional certification while the practitioner programs focus on the specialty area. The American nurses credentialing center and The American academy of nurse practitioners are those two credentialing bodies that provide certifications in the nursing. If you want to continue your development in the same field, you need to renew this certification after every five years.
Career Outlook and Salary Information:
As I have said earlier also that you need to get licensure, and then only you will be called as a registered nurse. According to the statistics of the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the positions of the nurse practitioners may increase by thirty-four percent between 2012 and 2022. BLS also reported the average annual salary of the nurse practitioners. It was around 95,070 USD in the year 2013.
Qualities Of A Nurse Practitioner
As a physician treats the disease of the patients, a nurse treats the patients by providing them proper healthcare services. They care for the patients and give them emotional support too if needed. He/she is termed as a mediator in the family interactions and medical care. Some of the qualities of the nurses are:
It is the most vital quality that a nurse possesses. Understanding and the quality of care have recorded that empathy is a multidirectional concept that allows the caregiver to share and identify emotions. The Proper definition of nursing is compassion and caring to the core.
2. Detail Oriented:
Nurses maintain the patient assessments, administer medication and manage medical equipment. There is no tolerance for error in this job as even the smallest mistake can be life threatening. Nurses give close attention to the transcriptions of the orders of a physician. Those nurses who take care of even the finest details of the patient are termed as superior in the nursing field.
We all know that nurses have to interact with the people of various age groups, specific requirements and needs, and multicultural backgrounds. According to the Magnet environment, for professional nursing practice, those nurses who are excellence in their work will be a good listener and takes time protect and understand the cultural beliefs of the patient.
At the time of accessing the patients, the best nurses use scientific knowledge, experience, and instinct. Intuition in the nurses is a significant quality in which they understand the problem of the patient without the need for an aware thought. Nurses take the cue from the statements of the patients that helps them in further investigation. With the help of intuition nurses prevent the further illness and also save the lives of the patients.
5. Physical Endurance:
Nurses should be high in the energy and have good endurance power to be a professional. As a nurse practitioner, he/she move weighty medical equipment, heavy patients and spend more than twelve hours on their feet at the time of their shift. Skillful nurses perform regular exercise and take healthy diet.
6. Emotional Stability:
Many challenging emergencies are handled by the nurses at the time of their work. He/she should be able to experience stressful situations and witness human sufferings. Nurses should be able to cope with the events like this easily by accepting the fact that life is a cycle of inevitable events.
7. Critical Thinking:
They need to have an ability to think critically so that he/she will be able to respond to the constant needs and changes. Nurses gain experience, practical knowledge and continue educational endeavors that help them in recognizing the problems of the patients. Bureau of labor statistics said that critical thinking is an important quality for the nurse.
8. Coordinator of Services:
Nurses coordinate care with the other providers. They are termed as the mediator that conveys the request of the patients with the other medical teams in order to give the best medical care.
F you want to make your career in the healthcare department you should have the patience power. The more patient you will be the more successful you will become. Especially the nurses understand that patience is very necessary to understand patients and colleagues, to overcome anxiety and to deal with the misunderstandings.
In all the fields, dedication is must. Dedication towards the work will make you a better person and develop leadership qualities in you. Many dedicated nurses continue to enhance their knowledge of education and later on teach beginner nurses in their specialty.
Disadvantages of Becoming a Nurse:
As I have said earlier also that becoming a nurse practitioner is not an easy task as you have to deal with an extremely emotional cases, downsides and risks. If there is a close nurse patient bond, it becomes very difficult for the nurse to cope with the death of patients. Another consideration is grieving the family members of the patient in order to comfort them. Emergency situations are also very fast paced, and there is no room for error. So some of the disadvantages are:
1. Long Shifts:
Many nurses work for long hours in the hospitals. The shifts may vary from 8 to 12 hours in a day. There can also be on call emergencies or overtime in the duty. Some of the nurses have to work rotating shifts also. All these things may disturb their personal life as it can be stressful, tiring and hard to deal with.
2. Emotional and Mental Fatigue:
Believe it or not but it is the most emotionally exhausting job. Depression can be a serious and real risk if there will be no proper training and support to cope with the stress of the job.
3. Education and Qualification:
The most training and education is required by the nursing practitioners from all the nursing positions. A master’s degree needs to be completed by the nurse and become licensed. A nurse can get up to the doctorate in his/her specialized field. The license needs to be renewed by the nurse practitioner every year. He/she should keep an up to date on the latest medical regulations, breakthroughs and technologies.
4. Legal Risks:
If a nurse failed to provide proper care or wrong dosage to a patient, it could make a serious error. He/she can get fired from the hospital and can even get the license cancel. It is very important for the nurse to take care even the smallest details of his/her job. A nurse needs to follow the strict policies and law of the hospital or medical, which are very complex and confusing.
5. Health Risks:
There can be serious health risks to the doctors as well as nurses. Bacteria and viruses can get transmitted by airborne droplets or bodily fluid from the patient to the nurse. It is very important for the nurse to take proper precautions and care. A nurse practitioner should wear protective medical gears that include protective aprons, masks, and gloves. In most of the hospitals, the staff gets routine vaccinations for flu and other serious illnesses.
As it has so many disadvantages, there are many advantages also. Like:
There is a job security for the position of nurse practitioner even at the time of recession. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a wide increase of the jobs in the healthcare department. It is recorded that by the year 2018, there will be more than 5,80,000 positions in the field of nursing will be created. They are high in demand and will continue to be the same for a long time.
Nursing is that care that is needed all the time. As there are certain problems that are faced by the nurse practitioner due to this flexibility, there are certain advantages too. As a nurse practitioner, you can opt to work part time, full time, evening or even night shifts. You can work in rural as well as in urban settings, outpatient, inpatient, school, home setting, research setting or in a law office. The prospects are endless.
The salary is very competitive in nature as compared to the other professions. Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that the salary of nursing is around 67,720 USD. It is an average amount; the range may vary depending on the educational level, location, and role.
It challenges the practitioners and makes them a better person. Not only emotionally, it challenges the person spiritually, intellectually and also physically. As the challenges are frustrating, but it also keeps the person motivated and engaged.
So, now you know how to become a nurse practitioner? And also certain advantages and disadvantages of this profession. Instead of looking at the cons, it is recommended to focus on the pros of the profession if you are interested in this particular field. You can also consult with a highly skilled professional, he/she can guide you based on his/her personal field experience.