What is Nurse Practitioner?
Nurse practitioners, also termed as advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), are registered nurses with additional qualification and training. They have almost all exposure as physicians and can even prescribe medicines. In addition to this, they have several other responsibilities and capabilities to assist the patients. An NP typically has to have a master’s degree in nursing and hold a state license and as an option, can choose to specialize in a specific medical field.
There are various fields of medicine in which a NP chooses to practice. The nurse practitioner program checklist includes specialties in areas such as; pediatric, adult NPs, acute care NPs, occupational health care, nurse midwives, certified nurse anesthetists, family care, geriatric NPs, etc.
History of Nurse Practitioner Program
Before we take a look at the nurse practitioner program checklist, let us understand the history of this program briefly. It was a physician and professor of Colorado University, who developed the first nurse practitioner program in the year 1965. Later, over nine years around 65 programs were created in pediatrics with other programs starting all over.
Significance of a Nurse Practitioner
The demand for nurse practitioner is constantly expanding throughout the world. The role of a NP has been evolving rapidly in response to the changing policies of health that seek to meet needs of aging people, increasing complexity of diseases, under-served population of all countries. Various countries have reacted to the challenges of health care by presenting the nurse practitioners for direct care of patients.
There are certain programs offered for candidates who have acquired a Bachelor degree but those who have not become RNs. These programs are lengthier than the usual master’s program. However, these may not be valid in all places.
The Nurse practitioner Program Checklist In Detail
The basic program required to become a nurse is a bachelor’s degree. Most of the countries and states also demand a license even to enter a higher degree program. The next in the nurse practitioner program checklist is the master’s degree program. Most of the NPs choose to specialize in specific field of medicine for a better future.
Requirement of License
The next in the nurse practitioner program checklist is the license and this is the main requirement to start practicing. Every state and country sets its own set of rules and requirements for the license of a NP. Normally, NPs must acquire a higher degree such as a doctorate or master’s degree in nursing along with a valid license as a registered nurse. Additionally, some of the countries and states demand a clinical exposure and training as a part of the education or on completion of the education. This training brings in a practical exposure to the NPs and helps them deal with various situation related to patients.
Skills Required by NPs
Though acquiring a degree and license along with the training might qualify a person to start practicing as a NP, there are certain skills that are very essential to be the best NP. Communication skill is a very basic necessity for a NP. This is because; a NP not only administers medicine and takes care of the patient, but also educates the patients on their positive health and at times to take crucial decisions. They also communicate to the physicians and RNs they work with regarding the condition and diagnosis of the patients. All these require appropriate communication to serve the very purpose of being a NP.
High maturity, adaptability, concern for patients, composure, ability to inspire patients, a good judgment, are few other requirements that are significant for a NP.
What are the Specialties of Nurse Practitioner Programs?
A NP may choose to work as a generalist or within any specialty. There are certain professional certification exams one has to clear on the chosen field such as; pediatrics, women’s health, mental health, adult care, occupational care, gerontology, midwife, care for pregnancy and child care, etc.
It is the basic philosophy of a NP to offer care individually to patients to help them focus on a healthy lifestyle and precautionary measures. They spend maximum time with patients and offer them the required counseling and education and at times relate even with their family members to create awareness.
Other Requirements to Become a Nurse Practitioner
Not everybody can become a nurse practitioner though they might have done all the required programs. It demands certain qualities and physical aspects too. NPs must possess a good stamina to work with patients in chronic conditions. At times they are required to work with dying, very serious, or very sick people at emergency care. They have high risk of taking the illness from patients. Also, a strong emotional stability is required to deal with such situations.
Nurse practitioners must also possess willingness to assist the patients, oral and reading comprehension, good decision-making, and perceptiveness along with critical thinking. A thorough understanding in the basics of chemistry, medicine, biology, and dentistry are essential.
With the competence of technology and equipments, a NP is required to have good computer knowledge and skills too.
Advantages of Being a NP
This career is quite rewarding. The NPs are given more freedom than the RNs, and at times are given powers to act as physicians. Despite the various responsibilities, they are also given the right to prescribe medicine and act as a main side person to all special doctors. Depending on the field of specialty, they are also highly paid and are much in demand all around the globe.
Role of a NP
Finally, when we look at the role, a NP is almost an all-role player. Right from acquiring the history of a patient, the roles goes to; conducting physical examination; diagnose, manage, treat, and evaluate acute and chronic conditions; provide annual health maintenance; child care; pregnancy, delivery, and child-care; educating patients; counseling; perform, order, and interpret EKGs, lab tests, and x-rays; etc.
Having possessed all the required education and training, a nurse practitioner has to have the total passion for the profession to get utmost satisfaction from serving the needy.