Top 5 Reasons to Become a Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners can help patients in more ways and are allowed to meet a wider range of health care needs than registered nurses (RNs) who lack a nurse practitioner’s additional training. As an advanced practice nurse, nurse practitioners have the authority to diagnose illnesses, treat patients, prescribe drugs and other treatments, order diagnostic tests, gather medical histories and perform physical examinations, much the same as a doctor. However, the nurse practitioner sticks with the nursing model, which focuses on the whole person—educating patients on ways to prevent illness and live a healthier lifestyle.
Becoming a nurse practitioner is a smart option for people who want more autonomy in their range of practice as a nurse, yet do not want to be doctors. As a rule, lower-tier nurses—even physician’s assistants—must always work under the supervision of a doctor. This is not always the case with nurse practitioners. Evidence is growing that more and more nurse practitioners are choosing to practice independently since some jurisdictions allow nurse practitioners to do their work without a doctor to supervise. Therefore, many have opened clinics where they treat patients without the oversight of a physician. Even those nurse practitioners who work daily with doctors report that they are still given a great deal of latitude with patients.
As a nurse practitioner, you can help improve and quicken people’s access to health care. Many patients who might have to wait three or more days to see a physician are given the option of meeting with a nurse practitioner sooner. Often, patients can get in to see a nurse practitioner much more quickly, especially for more routine illnesses.
Nurse practitioners enjoy a wide range of options when it comes to what areas of health care they can work in. They can serve as a primary or specialty care providers. Some of their many specializations include: women’s health, family practice, adult practice, pediatrics, geriatrics and acute care, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are also work specializations available in neonatal and mental health areas.
A nurse practitioner’s high level of education helps ensure they are better prepared to meet their patients’ health care needs. Nurse practitioners must have earned a master’s degree even for entry-level positions. In fact, there is currently an organizational push for nurse practitioners to become doctorally prepared and earn their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).