Do you like helping others and enjoy working in the medical arena? You might want to consider becoming a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners work side by side with physicians to help setting up and interpret health screenings, prescribe medications and diagnose various illnesses. As a nurse practitioner you can provide doctor referrals, set up appointments and help with arranging preventative care for patients. There are a number of ways you can go to become a nurse practitioner depending on the educational level you achieve. You’ll require specialty training, licensing and certifications.
You’ll need to get an associate degree in nursing for any entry level position in hospitals, clinics or doctor’s offices. You’ll need coursework reading health assessments by analyzing lab tests and X-rays as well as learn about individual care, mental health, child and family care. If you can, it is best to get a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. This provides a greater salary and better job prospects. The bachelor’s degree will allow you to become a registered nurse (RN). Once you obtain a bachelor’s degree, you can pursue a graduate degree to increase your job potential. You can go for a Master’s degree in nursing and these individuals are highly sought after. The master’s degree will allow you to choose a wide range of specialty areas such as geriatrics, women’s health, occupational health and pediatrics to name a few.
Overly, the educational requirements to become a nurse practitioner is a master’s degree but you can take it a step at a time. The master’s program for nurse practitioner generally takes two to three years. Once you have completed your master’s program, you can apply for a nurse’s license. You’ll need to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Make sure you study for this exam well in advance. The NCLEX-RN allows you to become a registered nurse.
The licensing exam should be taken after you receive your associate’s or bachelor’s degree while your studies are still fresh. Make sure to study for the licensing exam as well. Most states require that you pass this exam to get a license before you begin practicing as a nurse practitioner or nurse. Make sure to check your state for the exact requirements when applying for the licensing exam as each state varies somewhat.
While you’re studying to become a nurse practitioner, you’ll need to build some real world experience so try to secure an entry-level position in a clinic or hospital. This is best done at the end of your bachelor’s degree and or when you are working on your master’s degree.
Once you have received a master’s degree and passed your state’s licensing test, you’ll need to take the certification exam. This exam is given by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). If you decide to go into a specialty field, you need to get certified in that area as well. Some specialties include pediatrics, nursing school, diabetes management, family health, mental health and acute care.
Once you have fulfilled all your requirements including credentialing, you be able to find positions in clinics, hospitals, health departments, nursing homes, schools and private practice. No doubt, being a nurse practitioner can be very rewarding and certainly respectable. People will really look up to you because of what you have accomplished.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
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Susan has studied at the University of Texas Medical Branch Marine Biomedical Institute in Galveston, Texas and the University of South Florida in Tampa and received a Ph.D. in Biology with a major in Neuroscience and minors in physics and mathematics. Area of research is in brain transplantation and behavior testing with twenty years of teaching experience. Fields of interest include the physical basis of memory and learning, brain repair and regeneration as well as neuro-development. As an educator, has taught thousands of students at the college level in anatomy and physiology, biology, microbiology, marinebiology, nutrition, communications, radiography, ultrasound, mathematics and physics. She enjoys reading current scientific literature and simplifying the material making it readily available to the public.