Nurse practitioners are some of the most trusted healthcare professionals in the field. Their work is integral to keeping the healthcare system functioning smoothly. Furthermore, they serve as a bridge between medical professionals and the patients and help develop treatment protocols best suited to both parties.
Nurse practitioners work in various clinical settings and can, therefore, experience every aspect of the healthcare system. Additionally, working as a nurse is one of the most rewarding career paths, as you get to connect with all your patients meaningfully. If you want to take on critical medical duties while performing caretaking tasks, this is the right career path for you. Nurse practitioners serve as mentors, and they take on doctor duties like diagnosing illnesses, treating them, and conducting examinations. With so much responsibility on nursing practitioners’ shoulders, the path to becoming one isn’t all easy. It takes incredible dedication and perseverance to excel in your job as a nursing practitioner. Below, we’ve outlined the four steps critical to becoming a nurse practitioner.
Get an undergraduate degree in nursing
The first step to starting your career as a nurse practitioner is to get an undergraduate degree in a nursing program. Some aspiring NP’s chose to get an undergraduate degree in a related field, but to build a proper base for your Master’s, you must major in a nursing program. An undergraduate degree from an accredited university can let you polish your critical thinking skills, as well as providing you with essential medical knowledge and expertise. An undergraduate degree from an accredited university also opens up many career options for you as a nurse practitioner. You can choose to specialize in medical careers, such as senior care, working in maternity, cardiac care, and much more. A bachelor’s in nursing prepares you for any specialization you might want to take up in the future.
Get some experience working as a nurse
If your end goal is to work as a nurse practitioner, you might want to jump straight into your graduate degree as soon as you’re done with the undergraduate. However, in doing so, you’ll deprive yourself of all the valuable experience that’ll help you be a good NP. Good nursing is all about providing specialized care to each patient, and only getting hands-on experience can teach you how to do that. Furthermore, clinical experience is vital in gaining competency and performing better in critical situations on the job. Working in clinical settings can help you enhance your skills so that when you apply for a graduate program, you can present yourself as the best candidate.
Get your graduate degree
The healthcare profession grows increasingly more complex each year, and nurse practitioners play an increasingly more critical role with new developments. Experience alone isn’t enough to prepare you for all the responsibilities you need to take on. A graduate degree brings you up to date with the recent developments in nursing so that you provide only the latest and best treatment protocols. When picking a graduate program, make sure you choose an accredited university for your degree. Additionally, think carefully about the specializations you select, as they’ll eventually determine your career path.
Get a license or certification
Licensure or certification is essential if you want to set out on a credible nursing career. Your license tells potential employers that you are well-trained to provide quality care in any clinical setting. The licensure attests to your educational background by showing that you have a degree from an accredited university program, and it also indicates that you are well-versed in all international standards of medical practice. Furthermore, you make a lot of independent decisions without any physician’s supervision, and your license attests to the fact that you’re capable enough to make those decisions.
How much do nurse practitioners make?
A job as a nurse practitioner doesn’t just bring great responsibility, but an excellent pay scale as well. In fact, it is one of the most highest-paying jobs not only in the medical field but also across other areas of work. The average salary stands at $111,840 annually. Additionally, with more experience and education, this figure can increase even more.
As healthcare systems evolve globally, nurse practitioners take on more responsibilities, cementing their importance in the healthcare sector. The current pandemic has served to highlight even more how much we need them on the job. Therefore, there’s no better time to take on the role of an NP than now. Following these steps can help you prepare yourself for a career to improve patients’ lives and grow immensely.