Many ask “Why Become a Nurse Practitioner?” when starting down the road of becoming a nurse. Nurse practitioners (NP) are a type of registered nurse with extended privileges to serve as specialty care and primary providers. They are able to do things like diagnose illnesses, prescribe medications and conduct examinations. This type of nurse can run his or her own practice and serve as a sole healthcare provider.
What Are Nurse Practitioner Job Conditions Like?
The conditions vary greatly depending on where you work. Most positions that NPs work are in the ambulatory care setting. This means that you see patients in an outpatient setting. Ambulatory care also offers opportunities in home care, especially in rural areas. The average NP works a set schedule, but your specialty and place of practice can change this.
Where Can a Nurse Practitioner Work?
Nurse practitioners can work in a physician’s office, a hospital or their own practice. You can also choose one of many different specialties. These include the following:
- Family nurse practitioner
- Adult nurse practitioner
- Women’s health care nurse practitioner
- Acute care nurse practitioner
- Pediatric nurse practitioner
- Geriatric nurse practitioner
- Neonatal nurse practitioner
- Occupational health nurse practitioner
- Psychiatric nurse practitioner
There are also options as a certified registered nurse anesthetist or a certified nurse midwife.
If you choose to go the route of owning your own practice, you will want to become aware of the laws regarding nurse practitioners in your state. These can vary and it is important to work only within your scope of practice per your state’s guidelines, regulations and laws. You will also want to ensure that you have the proper insurance because this can be different than the insurance you carry working for a major hospital or in a pre-established medical clinic.
What Kind of Hours do Nurse Practitioners Keep?
Nurse practitioners have many options when it comes to work schedules. Some NPs will work a typical 8 to 4 or 9 to 5 at medical clinics. These are generally five days per week, with most weeks being Monday through Friday. If you work for a major hospital, you may have options to work morning, afternoon or night shifts. You can also be on call. It really depends on the type of practice you go into and what your overall preferences are. Your schedule is usually set and is the same week after week. However, major hospital systems may have rotating schedules that require so many weeks of night and so many weeks of days.
What is the Earning Potential for a Nurse Practitioner?
How much you earn greatly depends on many factors, such as where you live, your employer, your level of experience and your specialty. The median annual wage for a nurse practitioner in the United States is $89,960, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median wage is just an average and you may make more or less, depending on the factors stated above. When asked, “Why become a nurse practitioner?” an obvious answer would be “a great earning potential”.