What Is A Nurse Practitioner?
A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is a Registered Nurse that has had additional training. This training is in order to teach the RN how to diagnose illness and the best route for treatment. NPs typically choose one area of health for their practice, much like physicians, though there are General NPs.
What Does A Nurse Practitioner Do?
A Nurse Practitioner provides diagnosis services, treatment, prescriptions, and education. Their practices rely on the prevention of illness, where doctors rely on treatment. Since an NP is also a RN, they may perform all of the things RNs do- give medication, injections, administer emergency first aid, and personal care. NPs may also provide care a regular RN may not: sutures, setting of broken bones and casting, removal of skin lesions via cryotherapy, and ordering diagnostics.
What Do I need To Be A NP?
You will need to gain a Master’s Degree in Nursing. While the majority of people that do work towards their NP license will have finished their BSN (Bachelor’s Degree), there are programs that allow students to work towards the Master’s Degree without previous licensure. These courses are longer than bridging from a BSN.
There are programs that will allow a student in the program to be tested and gain their RN license while still working to the Master’s or Doctorate. You will have prerequisites, but the nature of the credits will depend on your state and the schools that offer courses.
Licensing and Practice
Nurse Practitioners have a different board of nursing that govern their ethics and scope of practice. This board is the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and another governing body is the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). These organizations require all potential NPs to hold at least a Master’s degree before they can open any practice or work as an NP in a facility.
When the NP student has completed their work towards either a Master’s or Doctorate, they will apply to take a national test in the area that they have chosen as their specialty.
Renewal of the Nurse Practitioner license or certification varies by state. Fees may be paid online and with a credit card in most states.