Nurse practitioners play an important role in the healthcare field and have a range of responsibilities depending on their area of practice. So, what does a nurse practitioner do, exactly? Let’s take a closer look.
What does a nurse practitioner do? They are registered nurses who have advanced education and experience in diagnosing and treating health problems. They can provide care for people of all ages, from newborns to the elderly.
What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do? Job Description
A nurse practitioner is a registered professional nurse who is licensed to practice independently in the area of nursing.
What does a nurse practitioner do? Nurse practitioners are qualified to perform many duties that were previously reserved for medical doctors, such as diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries, ordering diagnostic tests, prescribing medications, and counseling patients on maintaining good health.
Nurse practitioners may specialize in certain areas of healthcare, such as geriatrics, pediatrics, mental health, family practice or acute care. NPs generally function either in collaboration with or under the supervision of physicians. Some states allow NPs to work independently, while others require that they work under physician supervision.
What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do? List of Everyday Tasks
Nurse practitioners manage acute and chronic medical conditions, both physical and mental, through history and physical exam and the ordering of diagnostic tests and medical treatments. What does a nurse practitioner do on a daily basis? Some of the most common tasks include:
- assessing patients;
- providing primary care and urgent care;
- ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests;
- diagnosing medical conditions;
- prescribing medications and other treatment plans;
- providing patient education and counseling;
- offering different services to patients, like changing bandages;
- making referrals to specialists as needed;
- taking patients to x-rays and other types of imaging or procedures;
- coordinating care with other healthcare providers;
- managing patient records, recording patients;
- providing leadership and consultation within the healthcare team;
- researching and implementing new treatments and protocols;
- performing administrative duties, such as scheduling appointments and managing staff.
Nurse Practitioners – Specializations
Nurse practitioners may specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as family practice, pediatrics, geriatrics, or women’s health. They may also choose to focus on a particular population, such as prisoners or the homeless. In addition to clinical work, nurse practitioners may also teach, conduct research, or perform administrative duties.
There are several types of nurse practitioners, each with their own unique set of skills and training. What does a nurse practitioner do when it comes to their specializations? Here are some of the most common specializations and their job duties:
- Family Nurse Practitioner – it is a registered nurse who has completed additional education and training in primary care. They provide comprehensive patient care to people of all ages, from infants to the elderly.
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – it is a registered nurse who has completed additional education and training in pediatric care. They provide comprehensive care to patients from birth to 21 years of age.
- Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner – it is a registered nurse who has completed additional education and training in adult and geriatric care. They provide comprehensive care to patients over the age of 21.
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner – it is a registered nurse who has completed additional education and training in psychiatric care. They provide comprehensive care to patients with mental health conditions.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist – it is a registered nurse who has completed additional education and training in anesthesia. Nurse anesthetists provide comprehensive care to patients before, during, and after surgery.
- Certified Nurse Midwife – it is a registered nurse who has completed additional education and training in midwifery. They provide comprehensive care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
- Emergency Nurse Practitioner – it is a registered nurse who has completed additional education and training in emergency care. They provide comprehensive care to patients in the emergency room setting.
How to Become a Nurse Practitioner?
If you’re wondering how to become a registered nurse, you need to start by getting the right education and experience. The steps below will help you understand what it takes to make the transition. Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree (Master’s Degree, Doctorate)
A bachelor’s degree in nursing is essential before pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner. After earning an associate’s degree program or certificate in nursing, students can complete their bachelor’s degree (BSN – Bachelor of Science in Nursing) at a four-year college or university. While there are some entry-level nurse practitioner positions that only require an advanced nursing certificate with experience, the majority of advanced practice registered nurse positions require a master’s (MSN – Master of Science in Nursing) or doctoral degree (DNP – Doctor of Nursing Practice).
Step 2: Get Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN)
All aspiring nurse practitioners must first earn an RN license and gain the requisite clinical experience. RNs are responsible for providing care to patients and working closely with other health care professionals to ensure patients receive optimal treatment. Prior to gaining licensure, individuals must pass the NCLEX-RN exam.
Step 3: Pass Your National Certification Exam
After completing your graduate education, you will be required to pass your national certification exam before practicing as a nurse practitioner. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) offers certification exams for certified family nurse practitioners (FNP-C), certified adult gerontology nurse practitioners (AGNP-C), and certified pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP-C).
Salary for NPs
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are among the highest-paid professionals in the nursing field. In fact, the median annual salary for NPs is $123,780, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
What does a nurse practitioner do? Now you know that the role of a nurse practitioner is crucial for every healthcare system. If you think this career is good for you, be sure to check the website of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners for more information. Thanks for reading!