How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

Are you thinking about going into the nursing field? If so, not only is it an admirable career path, but also a fairly popular one. According to several sources, there are approximately 3.1 million RNs in the United States. Not only that but around 13 percent have masters or doctorates; including nurse practitioners.

If you’re curious about what exactly it is that a nurse practitioner does, basically they are nurses who, due to some extensive training, are given the professional authority to diagnose and treat patients, very similar to how physicians do. Plus, they are also able to bill health insurers for their services.

Does this sound like something that you might be interested in pursuing? If so, we’ve provided you with five tips on how you can become a nurse practitioner below:

Get an undergraduate nursing degree. The first thing that you must do is obtain an undergraduate degree. This will provide you with the information that you need in the areas of mental health, pediatric care, psychiatric studies and other relevant areas before you go on to pursue your graduate-level work.

Pursue your master’s. Although each state has different requirements for the specific kind of graduate work a nurse practitioner needs, it’s best to pursue a Master of Science with an emphasis in Nursing. During that time in school, you will learn about theories and concepts of nursing, advanced nursing policies and different kinds of health assessments. Once you complete the program, it will transition you from RN to MSN status.

Apply for a nursing license. In order to be eligible to work as a nurse anywhere in the country, you have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Although you will need to be a licensed RN before becoming a nurse practitioner, to find out if there are any other additional tests that you may need to take in your particular state, it’s best to contact the State Board of Nursing to see what the requirements are where you live.

Start as an RN. In the nursing field, there are plenty of jobs for nurses. So, even if you do have a license to practice as a nurse practitioner, it’s a good idea to take out at least a year to work in a hospital or doctor’s office as an RN. That way, you can get some hands-on experience, plus it will help to better prepare you for applying for a position as a nurse practitioner over the next 12-18 months or so. As an added bonus, it can confirm if you want to be in a particular specialty such as cardiology, oncology or obstetrics and gynecology.

Get certified in a specialty and apply for a job. If you do decide that you want to work in a particular specialty, aside from your license, you will also need to get certified in that specific area. However, once you take that test and pass, you are then able to apply to work as a nurse practitioner in hospitals, schools, private practices, clinics, nursing homes and even health departments. And don’t worry, nursing positions are always available, so you can be confident in the fact that some will be awaiting you once you’ve completed your nursing education. Good luck.

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