Just like other professions in the health sector, nurses also have an excellent opportunity for career growth. There are various nurse practitioner programs, which offer an opportunity for nurses to specialize. However, there are criteria to follow, especially for any individual that wants to be part of the program. He or she must be a registered nurse and must have obtained an associate or bachelor’s degree, as well as other relevant certificates.
Becoming a nurse practitioner is everyone dream, especially those in this profession. Apart from the high pay, there is also career satisfaction, and you will earn more respect from others in the health sector. In fact, there is more to being a nurse practitioner. Apart from holding a prestigious role, or high take-home pay, the nurse practitioner has the opportunity to specialize, just like doctors choose a particular medical field. Specialization will help to open up the potentials of the nurse practitioner. It can also help the individual to contribute to medical research.
Nurse practitioners are given advanced training in the profession, and this helps them to achieve career growth in a short time. This graduate-level education, allows them to operate independently in most cases. But in some hospitals and states, they work under the supervision of a physician.
There are lots of benefits, in attaining this position in the nursing profession. From experience and what the job entails, the benefits of being a nurse practitioner include:
- Reduces the pressure placed on the health- care sector
- Patients trust and value them more
- They involve patients while making decisions pertaining to their care
- Improve access to primary health care
- Provide the highest quality of management for chronic illness, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
To reach this level in the nursing profession, one has to become a registered nurse. After that, he or she can move to get a masters degree, or in some cases, a doctorate degree. However, before entering the program, it is better to choose the specialty you have the interest in. Also, consider the type of organization or setting you would like to work in.
Career Basics and Duties
It is good to understand the career basics and role of nurse practitioners. This will set you in the right part and prepare for the challenges ahead, so nothing will be new to you. However, a nurse practitioner is a type of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). And by virtue of the specialized education as well as clinical exposure and training given to the individual, he or she can offer a high level of care and take on many tasks that a registered nurse is not licensed to perform. In addition, the nurse practitioner, concentrate on a particular area or population – such as geriatrics, pediatrics, adult medicine, mental health and so on.
Services Provided By Nurse Practitioners
Nurse practitioners are licensed and they can offer direct care to groups, families, and communities. As a matter of fact, they can provide care to people of all age group. They also treat different types of illnesses, prescribe drugs and order for tests. Also, they can lecture families and individuals on issues concerning how to manage illnesses, prevention of diseases, as well as healthy living.
These medical professionals play a major role in the community and organizational development. They also contribute to health policy develop and capacity building. However, by virtue of their training and experience, they function as consultants and researchers. In fact, they bring new knowledge into the medical profession.
These practitioners also work together with other health professions rather than replace them. They from part of a team and collaborate with social workers, doctors, registered nurses and other health professionals who can provide help.
Nurse practitioners work in clinics, hospitals and manage care organizations. They also deliver care in both rural areas, as well as health community centers, campuses, and other places. In addition, they can work for health-care technological companies – such as pharmaceutical manufacturing companies and can perform research and teach at all levels (schools and universities). These professionals serve in various governmental agencies, which include military, health departments, and others. However, some of these professionals have their own private practices. So they do not work for anyone. You can choose to become like them if you have the finances.
However, becoming a nurse practitioner is a not a day’s journey, as there are basic requirements and standards an individual must have before registering for the program.
Nurse Practitioner Program Requirements
Nurse practitioners are nurses, who are registered. They also have training and education beyond bachelor’s level. However, the requirement for this position varies by specialty, including the state the individual is in, but anyone having an interest in the program must obtain at least a master’s degree. This degree will prepare the student for primary care, as well as a specialty practice.
So to summarize, you must have a bachelor’s and master’s degree, and also be registered nurse to attend this professional program.
Online Vs Traditional Nursing Education
The demand for educated nurses is increasing every year, even though the world is experiencing an economic meltdown. However, because of the expansion of health-care coverage and as baby boomers age, the demand for professional and well-trained nurses will continue to rise. However, this increase in demand for educated nurses, offers an opportunity for individuals, planning to enter the nursing profession or those already in it, to advance to their career and knowledge base. So, if you are in the nursing profession, the next step to take is to pursue higher education to obtain an advanced degree. Once the decision to obtain a higher nursing degree has been made, the next thing is to look for where to enroll.
Over the last few decades, online nursing practitioner programs have gained more popularity than ever. It appeals to many students, because of its flexibility and convenience. So, the question now is, can online nursing education benefits students? The following tips will explain this more.
Many practicing nurses today, say the main reason they enrolled in an online program is due to the flexibility and convenience. It offers individuals who are working hard to balance their careers, family, as well as other commitments, an excellent opportunity to obtain a degree without sacrificing other interests and commitments. On the other hand, students may also have access to a wide variety of degrees, in an online program than a local university. And when individual works in a rural area, transportation might be a major challenge.
Most people enjoy online learning because of its asynchronous environment. Students can participate whenever they want, instead of being restricted to attend a class at a particular location and time. In an online program, students are free to contribute to discussions or submit their homework at a convenient time. This is very beneficial to nurses students, who work shift and so may not have time to attend classes.
Another benefit of the online nursing program is that it offers students the opportunity to communicate and share ideas, with other professionals from around the world. Nurses have the opportunity to hear things that are happening in other areas and benefit from the knowledge and practical experience shared by their colleagues in other locations.
One reason why many schools support distant learning is because of the growing population of students. Educators most times, find it uneasy to cope with a large number of students. However, the online nursing program is more beneficial to nurses, who want to advance in their careers and still maintain other commitments.
Online Nursing Practitioner Program – Things to consider before you register
Once you have made up your mind to attend an online nurse practitioner program, the next step is to choose the one that interests you. Focus more on the program you like, such as adult nursing or pediatric. However, expect to experience the same quality of education as you would when you attend a campus-based program. You should also look for the best-ranked school in your target locality. The school should be accredited and have some professional experience in your selected field.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs are available for individuals, who have the requirements for an advanced nursing degree. The duty of the professional would be to provide psychiatric treatment and medical care to people.
Psychiatric nurses do most of the things psychiatrist does. They diagnose mental illness and prescribe a drug. As a psychiatric nurse, you will act as a therapist and assist people with anxiety, depression, suicidal individuals and other health conditions counseling can solve. These nurses can also work in different settings including primary care units, outpatient clinics, private practices, hospitals and community health centers. They may also offer services in trauma centers, high-risk pregnancy centers, prisons, substance abuse programs, and schools. In fact, they handle different mental issues like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis, and dementia.
Things you will be doing
- Exam, diagnose as well as treat patients that have mental illness
- Teach family of patients, about their conditions and how they should react in certain scenarios
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Programs
The field of nursing has many specialty areas. And if you enjoy working with infants, then neonatal nursing is the right choice for you. This area of specialization focuses on the care of infants and newborn babies, especially those who need special attention. For example, babies born early, having deformities, struggling with breathing problems, require surgery or other complications that need special medical care.
Things you will do as a neonatal nurse
- Care for healthy infants in the nursery after birth
- Look after infants with special needs, in a NICU (Neonatal intensive care unit)
However, many of the patients a neonatal nurse cares for are under 2 years. But if have long-term needs due to their conditions at birth, they may stay in the NICU for some more years before they can be transferred to a pediatrics unit.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs
A pediatric nurse’s duty is also an interesting one. It is enjoyed mostly by those who like to work with children. They focus on providing primary health care to children. In fact, they work with infants, children, including adolescents. However, they help the physician to find out the nature of their illnesses and what treatment will be most effective.
Things you will do as a pediatric nurse
- Diagnose and treat diseases
- Prescribe medications
- Treat injury and illness found in adolescents and children
- Perform and order diagnostic tests
- Maintain the records of patients
- Give parents advice on their child’s healthcare and treatments
Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Programs
Mental nurses as the name implies, help patients struggling with psychological issues. They help to assess, diagnose, and care for them, including their families. In fact, they help patients to handle their emotional and mental dysfunction, in order to promote healthy daily functioning, wellness, and social interactions.
Things you will do as a mental health nurse
- Patient’s assessment
- Medication management
- Get involved in different facilities and programs in the entire community, to help evaluate, mentor and enlighten patients and their families about mental health and healthy ways of living.
Online Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Programs
Online programs for acute care nurses are also available. You can register in any of the accredited universities that offer such program. These nurses treat patients that require surgery or have chronic diseases. In fact, they are responsible for individuals, especially adults that require special and short-term care.
Things you will do as an acute nurse practitioner
- Diagnose and treat acute health conditions
- Care for patients with critical conditions – such as shock, heart attack, and respiratory distress syndrome.
These practitioners can work in an operating room, emergency room, doctor’s office, and critical care unit.
Family Nurse Practitioner Programs
This program prepares registered nurses and equips them with the knowledge and skills to become competent and dedicated practitioners, who can efficiently manage the care of families. In fact, they are experts who lay emphasis on both care and cure. These professionals also apply state-of-the-art science and technology in primary health-care settings, to manage the health needs of patients.
However, the main focus of this program is to provide practitioners with the clinical skills and academic knowledge that is required to promote health, prevent diseases, assess, and manage common chronic and acute illnesses.
Accelerated Nurse Practitioner Programs
Some schools offer accelerated nurse practitioner programs, which are created for individuals who want to have a license with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, and who also wish to obtain a master’s degree in nursing. As a matter of fact, this program provides a means for people with undergraduate degrees from other disciplines to transit into nursing.
This program is a good option for highly motivated individuals, who are determined to practice medicine. It offers students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing in a period of 15 months, and then they can begin their masters immediately.
Accredited Online Nurse Practitioner Programs
Many schools around the world are offering accredited nursing practitioner programs online. You can find out details about these schools and the requirements to become part of them. Before registering for a nursing practitioner program in any school, you can do some research to know if the program has already been accredited. The reason is because doing a program that hasn’t been accredited in a particular school is time wasting. Your degree may not be valued and valid as it should.
Direct Entry Nurse Practitioner Programs
This direct entry program is specially created for people who possess a bachelor’s degree but lack nursing experience. After completing their Master’s degree in nursing, they can study further to become a nurse practitioner. However, this program will last for about 3 years
This course of study will provide you with the knowledge and experience you need to begin a career in health care as a nurse practitioner.
Reasons to attend nurse practitioner programs
The healthcare industry is growing constantly and many people have started to see the need to improve their career prospects by obtaining a certificate in the nursing profession. People without nursing experience but have a bachelor’s degree can grow their career in this profession.
However, many countries, including the US, do not have enough nurses to ever expanding healthcare sector. In fact, a large population of people in the country is growing older, and there are many new breakthroughs that allow people to live longer. In fact, these will also cause an increase in demand for healthcare services.
Reviews of Nurse Practitioner Programs
It was never easy but at last, I made it. I am an NP now. I am not a negative thinker but I doubted myself when I started this program online. As a registered and practicing nurse, it was difficult for me to cope with work and my family. But somehow, I attended one of the accredited nurse practitioner programs from a reputable school and now I am a mental health nurse….
Permit me to say the online nurse practitioner programs are the best. The flexibility and convenience are something I really cannot explain. I work and still run my home with 4 kids. So, I am guessing you know what that means. I didn’t want to quit my job or neglect my kids, but my goal to become a nurse practitioner was still hanging on my shoulders. Anyway, I managed to register for an online nurse practitioner program and everything went well. Now, I am a certified pediatric nursing practitioner.
Alice, CL, USA
The direct entry nurse practitioner program is a special program. I am certain it was created for me because I had the mindset of becoming a nurse. I knew it was going to be challenging, especially when I didn’t have any experience, but somehow I managed and I am a registered nurse already. In fact, I am very sure I will get to the highest level of this career.
The major thing that has kept me thus far is self-determination and motivation. Online practitioner programs are the best option for prospective students. I had the opportunity of chatting with professionals from other parts of the world, and I learned a lot of things. The flexibility of the online nursing program is also amazing.
Online nurse practitioner programs are beneficial to nurses, who are already working. These programs are structured in such a way that participants learn whenever they like. I was able to manage my job well and also completed my program at the stipulated time.
I work in a rural area, so this online program was the best option for me. The good thing is that my other commitments didn’t suffer. I did everything well and still finished my training.
I am still in love with these online nurse practitioner programs. I attended the program and I did learned a lot too, from students in other parts of the world. The online program is very convenient. It is also good for people who have a family but yet working. It is not easy to manage all at once, but I was determined to succeed.
Online practitioner programs are very many, so I advise everyone to choose according to interest in the field.
I become a nurse practitioner through an online program. It is best for people who are passionate and want career improvement…