What Is A Nurse Practitioner?
What is a nurse practitioner? Simply put, a nurse practitioner provides advanced medical services to patients that are similar to those offered by physicians. In fact, the role of a nurse practitioner stems from a huge shortage in physicians that was reaching a crisis point about 20 years ago. Even today, there is a tremendous demand for physicians as more and more people are requiring medical care than ever before. Nurse practitioners are trained and qualified to do many things that doctors do, in order to ensure that people have access to quality healthcare without having to rely on the limited availability of doctors.
In order for nurse practitioners to become certified, they must enroll in graduate degree programs specifically designed to prepare them for the rigors and diversity in this niche the medical field requires. While those who are training to become doctors go to medical school, nurse practitioner programs are not as long or as in depth as medical school. However, studying to become a nurse practitioner requires a huge time commitment, and the courses are very demanding and rigorous. Most medical school programs last from 4 to 7 years, whereas nurse practitioners can receive the necessary training in as little as 2 to 3 years.
Additionally, a nurse practitioner will choose an area of specialty they will concentrate on, and their studies will focus this particular field. So, for a nurse practitioner who wishes to be a primary care consultant, their training will be different from one who wants to specialize in cancer treatment. However, nurse practitioners are as capable of diagnosing and treating medical conditions as their physician counterparts, and there is an increasing demand for these services nationwide. In fact, many insurance companies, healthcare networks and even hospitals are using nurse practitioners as primary caregivers in lieu of physicians.
Some states require nurse practitioners to work under the direction of a licensed physician, while others do not. So, the scope of practice for a nurse practitioner will vary depending on local regulations as well as their particular area of concentration. The important thing to remember is that every nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has received extensive and in depth training that makes them more than qualified to practice medicine. This includes diagnosing and treating medical conditions, writing prescriptions, and even billing insurance companies for their services.
Nurse practitioners can earn well over $100,000 per year, and many are able to earn quite a bit more. There work environment varies based on their specialty as well as their role in the local healthcare system. Some work in hospitals, while other ones are working in clinics. There are also nurse practitioners that provide medical services to small communities who do not have access to regular physicians on a regular basis. All in all, there are few limits in terms of how far a nurse practitioner can take their career, and more and more schools are providing training programs that are offering this option than ever before.
However, training to become a nurse practitioner is not cheap. In fact, tuition fees associated with a good training program rival those of medical schools. However, due to the focused and streamlined approach, the time it takes to become qualified is far less. This enables qualified and competent nurses to enter the field and practice their skills a lot sooner than it would take a physician. There are many benefits to becoming a nurse practitioner, and one of them is the ability to develop a career and create more options in terms of what a nurse can do. Additionally, there is a certain degree of independence and discretion that is associated with becoming a primary care giver as opposed to acting as an extension of a physician in the role of a registered nurse.
Different training programs have various entry requirements, and most of them expect their students to have a couple of years of experience working in the field of nursing before their applications are accepted. Additionally, the time commitment is enormous, and students should be prepared to have their lives revolve around their coursework, especially during the internship phase of their program. So, it is important they are able to manage their career and family life in a way that will free them up so they can dedicate all of their time and attention to successfully completing their training.
So, what is a nurse practitioner? A nurse practitioner is a highly skilled and enormously qualified healthcare provider that does many things a traditional physician would do. And, there is a greater need than ever for the services of these skilled and capable practitioners as well. If you are thinking about becoming a caregiver and a primary care resource, this could be a good alternative to medical school that you can consider.