What is a Nurse Practitioner (NP)?

A nurse practitioner (NP) is a medical professional who also works as part of a team with a doctor. A NP is a graduate of an accredited NP educational program who is nationally certified and state-licensed to practice medicine with or without the supervision of a physician.

NP’s perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret lab tests, perform procedures, assist in surgery, provide patient education and counseling and make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes. All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow NP’s to practice and prescribe medications.

By design, physicians and NP’s work together as a team, and all NP’s practice medicine with physician supervision. Supervision does not mean, though, that a supervising physician must always be present with the NP or direct every aspect of NP-provided care. In fact, after completing 6 months of supervised training by a medical doctor and/or completing 1000 hours in one calendar year, a NP can work independently.

NP’s are trained and educated similarly to physicians, and therefore share similar diagnostic and therapeutic reasoning. Physician-NP practice can be described as delegated autonomy. Physicians delegate duties to NP’s, and within those range of duties, NP’s use autonomous decision-making for patient care. This team model is an efficient way to provide high-quality medical care. In rural areas, the NP may be the only healthcare provider on-site, collaborating with a physician elsewhere through telecommunication.

If there is a NP in your group practice, you can certainly request to be seen by him or her. NP’s deliver high-quality care, and research shows that patients are just as satisfied with NP-provided care as they are with physician care.

How are NP’s Educated and Trained? (click to open)

All NPs must complete a master’s or doctoral degree program and have advanced clinical training beyond their initial professional registered nurse (RN) preparation. Didactic and clinical courses prepare nurses with specialized knowledge and clinical competency to practice in primary care, acute care and long-term health care settings.

NP’s must become a registered nurse as the first step, as possessing this foundation is essential to the clinical skills that the NP role requires. (RNs) work with a variety of patient populations. They provide and coordinate care, educate patients and the public about health conditions, and offer guidance and emotional support to patients and their families. They usually work as part of a team with other health care professionals and may perform a variety of tasks.

Additional options include combining the steps of becoming an RN and earning a bachelor’s degree or pursuing accelerated tracks that may be available for those who have previously acquired bachelor’s degrees in non-nursing fields.

Graduates of nursing programs must pass a standardized national licensing examination the NCLEX-RN for registered nurses or the NCLEX-PN for licensed practical nurses. After passing the examination, they must then earn a state license and undergo a criminal background check. In all nursing programs, students take a variety of science courses, including anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, and other social and behavioral sciences. It usually takes four years to complete a traditional, non-accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, which typically includes additional education in the physical and social sciences, research, and community health. BSN programs usually include extensive clinical education.

After the completion of a bachelor’s degree, the next step is to gain clinical experience. Many individuals who complete a BSN have already been working in clinical settings, but those who entered a program straight out of high school may benefit from getting some experience under their belts. There are many essential clinical skills that a nurse hones while caring for patients on the job—as well as important competencies related to things like communication, collaboration, and teamwork in a clinical setting. Typical clinical experience is usually one to two years of clinical work for a strong foundation, depending upon the setting and goals for future specialization. Registered nurses may earn specialty certification in a variety of fields, which typically includes a minimum requirement for years of clinical experience in the field.

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is the minimum requirement to become a nurse practitioner. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), there are about 400 academic institutions that offer NP programs in the United States.

In addition to RN licensure and a graduate degree from an accredited institution, NP candidates are typically required to have a certain number of supervised clinical hours. How much time will be needed to achieve licensure and certification? That will vary depending upon completion of eligibility requirement, the specific examination schedules of each certifying body, and the amount of time needed for a candidate to prepare for the certifying exam.


Other pages you may be interested in:


Copyright © 2021 tottoriallergy.com. All Rights Reserved.