The Essential Guide to a Nurse Practitioner Career

Becoming a nurse practitioner is a great choice for those students who have a strong interest in medicine, but do not want to work as a doctor. Nurse practitioners are found across the country in hospitals, private care facilities, nursing homes, and more, and some even own their own practices. Ready to learn more? Here’s all the essential information you need about working as a nurse practitioner to get you started learning about this career:

Nurse Practitioner Education

Nurses need to earn a master of science in nursing (MSN) to work as a nurse practitioner, and in the coming years, most states will require a doctorate. This advanced education will allow you not only to increase your general care skills, but also to specialize in one area of nursing, such as geriatrics or mental health. Your education might also include classes that focus on leadership skills, since many nurse practitioners work as managers and administrators in their departments. To enter an MSN program, you must first become a registered nurse and earn your bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or enter an RN-to-MSN program, which allows registered nurses with associate’s degree to enter an accelerated course and earn a BSN along the way to their MSN.

Nurse Practitioner Duties

While some nurse practitioners do go on to work in teaching or research, this is primarily a route for nurses who want to work with patients in a practical setting (hence the name “practitioner”). You’ll still be responsible for general nursing tasks, such as recording vital signs and helping patients prepare for surgery, but  you’ll also be tasked with more advanced duties, such as diagnosing and treating common problems and referring patients to the correct doctors. Nurse practitioners also often speak directly with patients and their families, explaining diagnoses and teaching patients about home care.

Nurse Practitioner Benefits

Salary is a huge benefit for many nurse practitioners, as you can expect to earn a healthy wage in this field, depending on your specific specialization. This is also a job market that is extremely secure, as the aging population and increased health risks are filling facilities to capacity. In fact, in many parts of the country, there is a nursing shortage, so finding a job is typically not a problem. Most nurse practitioners, however, find that the biggest benefit of this career is the job itself – working to help others can be very rewarding in a career.

Top Online Nurse Practitioner Schools

Kaplan University
MSN: Administration
MSN: Education
Kaplan University – At Kaplan University you can obtain a Masters in Nursing in Nurse Administration which will grow your skill set in the principles of personnel management, policy development and implementation. You can gain an MSN degree in Nurse Education that will prepare you for a faculty or educator role in colleges or schools of nursing.
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South University
MSN
South University – The MSN at South University is an excellent program that enhances the knowledge of registered nurses. The program allows nurses to pursue their education goals while continuing their career and meeting personal and family responsibilities through their flexible programs. The curriculum in this program develops clinical teaching skills and utilizes modern research in the nursing field.
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Chamberlain College of Nursing
MSN
Chamberlain College of Nursing – If you are interested in becoming a nurse practitioner or you wish to pursue leadership roles within Nursing, the Chamberlain College of Nursing offers an MSN degree you can earn online. The program can help you prepare for advanced positions that require more focused study. This program can be completed in two years.
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Grand Canyon University
MSN: Nurse Education
MSN: Nurse Leadership
MSN/MBA: Leadership
Grand Canyon University – The MSN in Nurse Education program at Grand Canyon University provides students with the educational knowledge and experience to prepare them for an advanced nursing profession focusing on training techniques and modern theory. You can also earn an MSN/MBA dual degree in leadership that will give you the opportunity to develop cross function management skills critical for advancement in nursing positions.
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Georgetown University
MSN: Family Nursing
MSN: Women's Health
Georgetown University – Online MS in nursing degree graduates from Georgetown University's School of Nursing and Health Studies will exit the competitive, highly-ranked and established program not only with their advanced degree, but as champions for their patients and the advancement of the nursing field across the board. Specializations are available in family nursing and nurse midwifery/women's health.
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American Sentinel University
MSN
MSN: Case Management
MSN: Health Informatics
MSN: Infection Prevention
MSN: Nurse Leadership
American Sentinel University – The American Sentinel University MS in nursing program includes several specializations: case management, health informatics, infection prevention, and nurse leadership. These programs enable nurses to develop leadership skills and learn advanced topics in infection and disease prevention.
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University of Cincinnati
MSN: Clinical Nursing
MSN: Family Nursing
MSN: Nurse Midwifery
MSN: Women's Health
University of Cincinnati – The MSN in women's health teaches nurses the training and diagnosis skills for common and complex female medical conditions. A MSN in clinical nursing specializes in a specific discipline ranging from diseases to medical environments. The clinical nursing, nurse administration, and family nursing programs teach the skills to manage common and more complex medical conditions for the entire family. The MSN in nurse midwifery degree leads to a rewarding career, giving the skill sets necessary to advise and treat women through pregnancy.
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Sacred Heart University
MSN: Clinical Nursing
MSN: Nurse Education
MSN: Patient Admin.
Sacred Heart University – The Sacred Heart University MSN: clinical nursing, MSN: nursing education, and MSN: patient care services administration teach nurses advanced topics in teaching and learning, issues in nursing education, coordination with other healthcare professionals. Graduates are found throughout the healthcare system, in both small clinics and large regional hospitals.
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