A Nurse Practitioner is a registered nurse (RN) who has advanced education and clinical training in a health care specialty area. Nurse Practitioners work with people of all ages and their families, providing information people need to make informed decisions about their health care and lifestyle choices based on high quality care, cost effective care, and patient satisfaction. Nurse Practitioners work very close with physicians (doctors). They advocate health promotion and disease prevention. And from patients point of view, NP’s are pretty much doctors but sometimes even better.
In order to become a NP, you must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, be certified as an RN, complete an accredited master’s degree program, pass a state exam, and be licensed by the Boards of Nursing and Medicine. The complete process can take 6-8 years depending on the individual. A nurse practitioner can specialize in many areas like family practice, oncology, mental health, or they may specialize in the care of specific groups like women, infants, children, or the elderly. But most choose a master’s degree in primary health care and geriatrics.
Nurse Practitioners work in a variety of settings located in rural and urban communities. They work in private practices, health clinics, HMOs, hospitals, public health departments, emergency rooms, nursing homes, free standing health clinics, women health clinics, school-based health clinics, rural health clinics and employee-health departments.
Nurse Practitioners have many duties. They must be able to work independently, teach others, physically assist patients, take responsibility for the lives of others, and under nursing skills and beyond. Some of their work includes obtaining health histories, doing physical exams, collaborating with physicians and other health professionals as needed, ordering and interpreting diagnostic/laboratory studies, counseling, and giving advice on how to prevent diseases....