The American Association of Nurse Practitioners™ (AANP) wants everyone to know that November 12th to 18th is National Nurse Practitioner Week 2017. This week serves as an opportunity to recognize the more than 234,000 skilled health care providers who are providing high-quality, cost-effective, patient-centered care.
Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia have granted full practice authority to NP’s, giving patients more access to care in light of the looming physician shortage that is impacting many parts of our country. One of the stated goals of NP Week is to raise awareness for lawmakers to the quality of care that NP’s provide and serve as a reminder that outdated barriers to practice need to be removed allowing NP’s to practice to their full extent.
More than 23,000 new NP’s complete their academic studies each year. If you are considering advancing your nursing career to the next level, let’s take a look at what is required to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse otherwise known as a Nurse Practitioner.
While the requirements for the nature of the education required will vary based on the state you plan to practice in and also the medical setting, at a minimum, to become an NP you will need to earn a master’s degree. To earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), students typically take an additional three years to complete the courses necessary. Another educational pathway to becoming an NP is to complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. In addition to the courses in pathophysiology, assessment, and pharmacology like the MSN, the DNP program will include advanced courses in leadership and population health.
Once you earn the advanced degree, NP’s have a wide range of options available to them. There are NP’s who work in community care programs, hospital settings, physician’s offices, home health care, and even military and prison system settings. Another benefit to becoming an NP is the number of openings available. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, NP employment is expected to grow more than 36% over the next ten years. This means that NP’s will have flexibility in finding the best opportunity for themselves and their family. From better wages to finding the right shift and/or benefits, being in a high-demand career will give you plenty of options.
“Having the nursing experience is extremely helpful,” explains Carolyn Doyle, MSN-FNP since 2001. “It helps because you are already at ease when dealing with patient needs both emotionally and physically. If you are competent, confident, and caring, you can be a good NP because patients will feel your warmth and trust your decision making.”
Have you already committed to taking the steps necessary to become a Nurse Practitioner? Are you considering it? Join the discussion in the comment section below, we would love to hear your story and perspective on becoming an NP. Or visit us on our Facebook page and leave a comment.