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Nurse Practitioner Career Overview

Nurse Practitioners, also know as Advance Practice Nurses (APN's) provide care very similar to that of a physician and generally work in collaboration with physicians. Nurse Practitioners are licensed by the state in which they practice, and have a board certification often through ANCC - American Nurses Credentialing Center in their area of practice. Nurse Practitioners will often select an area of specialization based on a field of nursing they have worked in as a registered nurse. Some of the most common specialty areas for advanced practice include Family Practice, Pediatrics and Geriatrics.

Nurse practitioners will most likely treat both acute and chronic conditions in any specialization, as well as prescribe medications and therapies for their patients. An NP may serve as a patient's regular primary care health care provider and see patients of all ages depending on their designated scope of practice. They practice in various settings including physician offices, hospitals, community health clinics, home health services, nursing homes, and more. The core philosophy of the field is providing individualized care. As a nurse practitioner, you will focus on patients' conditions as well as the effects of illness on the lives of the patients and their families. NP's make prevention, wellness, and patient education priorities in their nursing practice.

Education for Nurse Practitioner

To be licensed as a nurse practitioner, one must first complete the education and licensure to become an RN. This means obtaining your associate degree in nursing (ADN) or your Bachelor's in Nursing (BSN) and then your RN licensure. The next step from there is to gain hands on experience by practicing as an RN in a clinical setting. This will not only broaden your expertise, but this experience may also help you gain acceptance into a nurse practitioner program. After getting your RN license and gaining some work experience, the next step to becoming a nurse practitioner is to complete a state-approved and accredited advanced practice nursing education program. There are numerous specialties offered at the MSN and doctorate level designed to match the student's desired area of practice including but not limited to family practice, adult health, acute care, psychiatric/mental health, neonatal, geriatric care and women's health.

There are various entry points to nurse practitioner programs. Schools around the United States are offering RN to MSN programs with various nurse practitioner specializations, BSN to DNP programs, MSN to DNP programs, Post-Master's certificate NP programs, post-doctorate NP programs as well as master's programs for non-nursing college graduates with NP specialization options. The master's of science in nursing (MSN) degree is now the minimum education level required to become a nurse practitioner. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) have been promoting the DNP as the minimum education needed for nurse practitioners to be implemented by 2015. The AACN's recommendations should also be considered in your advanced nursing education decision making process.

After completing an accredited nurse practitioner program, the candidate must be licensed to practice by the state in which he or she plans to practice. The State Boards of Nursing regulate nurse practitioners and each state has its own licensing and certification criteria. In general, state's criteria include completion of a master's degree in nursing and national certification by an accrediting body (AANC, AANP) in the nurse practitioner's intended field of practice.

Nurse Practitioner Salary and Job Outlook

According to salary.com, the median nurse practitioner salary for an NP in the primary care setting was $89,845 per year. As in any profession, your salary can vary dramatically dependent upon employer size, location, and years of experience. As the numbers of primary care physicians decrease and the demand for cost effective health care services increases, Nurse Practitioners (NP's) are and will continue to be in high demand. Other areas of advanced practice nursing to consider exploring are nurse midwifery and clinical nurse specialists.

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Featured Program: Online MSN - Nurse Practitioner Programs

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Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies - Online

The Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies Graduate nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) accredits the certificate and graduate nurse-midwifery education programs. These programs are enrolling now. Request information today.

Programs Offered Online: MSN - (Specializations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwifery/Women's Health Nurse Practitioner)

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Kaplan University

The Online Master of Science in Nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nurse Education (CCNE). The majority of states require nurse practitioners to be nationally certified for licensure to practice. Currently the Online MSN - NP programs are offered to residents of Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Vermont.

Programs Offered: RN to BSN, RN to MS in Nursing, MS in Nursing - (Tracks: Adult Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administrator, Nurse Educator, Nurse Informatics), Graduate Certificate - (Tracks: Adult Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administrator, Nurse Educator, Nurse Informatics)

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Maryville University

Maryville University - St. Louis offers two CCNE accredited online MSN Nurse Practitioner Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner.

Programs Offered Online: MSN - (Family Nurse Practitioner -FNP, Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner - AGNP)

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University of Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati - College of Nursing

The University of Cincinnati - College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The MSN - Nurse Midwifery online program is accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Learn more about the University of Cincinnati by requesting information today.

Programs Offered Online: MSN - Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, MSN - Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist, MSN - Nurse Midwifery, MSN - Clinical Nurse Specialist (Nurse Educator)

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Graceland

Graceland University - School of Nursing

The RN-BSN and RN to BSN/MSN programs are CCNE and NLNAC accredited. The RN to BSN and RN to BSN/MSN programs are designed for Registered Nurses who want to advance their education and career opportunities. RN to BSN and RN to BSN/MSN program Practicums can be completed in the student's community. Click on the request information button below and select "RN to BSN/MSN" to learn more about the FNP program.

Online Programs Offered: RN to BSN, RN to BSN/MSN and MSN - (Specializations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator), Post-Graduate Certificate (Specializations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Education), Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP (Online)

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Frontier School

Frontier Nursing University - Distance Education

The Frontier Nursing University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools. They offer online MSN Programs and post masters certificates in the following areas: Certified Nurse Midwifery (accredited by ACME), Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner (accredited by the NLNAC). FSMFN also offers an online DNP program accredited by the AACN. Coursework is web-based and clinical experience is acquired in your own community at clinics and hospitals.

Programs Offered: Online ADN - MSN (Tracks: Nurse Midwifery) , Online MSN - (Tracks: Nurse Midwifery), DNP

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Regis University - Loretto Height School of Nursing

The Regis University School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Programs Offered: RN to BSN, RN to MS in Nursing (Tracks: Leadership in Health Care Systems - Management or Education), Online DNP - (Tracks: Advanced Practice Nursing, Advanced Leadership in Health Care)

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UMass Online

University of Massachusetts - UMass Online College of Nursing

The UMass College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is open to Registered Nurse applicants who hold a Master's in Nursing with preparation as family, gerontological, or adult nurse practitioners, or clinical nurse specialists, as well as those holding an MS in Nursing and certified as nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists. Learn more about this program today. Select "PhD - Nursing" for "Program of Interest" and you will receive information regarding the DNP program.

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