Nurse Practitioner Salary: Challenging Job, Is It Worth It?
Nurse practitioner is considered as one of the top careers in this day and age, maybe because of the nurse practioner salary of today. Knowing some important facts about this jobs is important nevertheless.Nurses are not just “doctor’s assistants” anymore; with modern advancements in technology comes the evolution of the nursing profession in equal proportions. As a matter of fact, nurses of today are the most sought-after healthcare professionals anywhere in the world. True, it is one heck of a backbreaking job but the financial and spiritual fulfilment far exceeds its various demands. Moreover, upgrading one’s self from being a plain registered nurse to a more advanced status, say, nurse practitioner, is even more rewarding. Indeed, sky’s the limit for our modern-day Florence Nightingales.
A nurse practitioner is neither an ordinary staff nurse nor a full-pledged doctor; the definition of its roles lies somewhere in between. They are classified as advanced practice registered nurses (much like nurse anesthetists or CRNA’s) who have gained graduate-level education (Master’s or a Doctoral degree). Nurse practitioners are basically registered nurses who have gained extensive post-graduate studies and trainings. For this reason, they have greatly expanded their scope of nursing practice. With the skills and experience gained, licensure or certification programs are also important to be a nurse practitioner.
This in turn, gives them additional roles and responsibilities traditionally performed by a doctor. There are different factors that you should consider to understand the compensation and reason for a competitive nurse practitioner salary. Depending on the state, nurse practitioners can prescribe medications, perform minor operations, order,perform,interpret diagnostic exams, diagnose and treat acute or chronic illnesses independently. As a vital arm of the nursing profession, nurse practitioners also perform basic nursing functions such as health education, family and individual counselling, nursing research, patient advocacy, and comprehensive health promotion. One can expect to see a nurse practitioner in a variety of health care settings: from doctor’s offices to privately-owned hospitals, from home health care to industrial facilities, the list is almost endless. Of course, nurse practitioner salary differs according to the nursing area where one is currently working, but that is just one part of the whole picture.
Nurse Practitioner Salary: Facts and Figures
The responsibilities of a nurse practitioner can be overwhelmingly stressful most of the time. In fact, describing their tasks as “backbreaking” is an understatement considering the fact that nurse practitioners are handling real human lives. One mistake can potentially cost a patient’s life; this is one reason to justify the truth that high risk equals to high compensation. As of January 2012, the median expected nurse practitioner salary in the United States is $90,380. This 5-digit figure is only the tip of the iceberg because nurse practitioners are also qualified to receive overtime pay, bonuses and other benefits like retirement accounts and health insurance, which, if you’re going to calculate the exact numbers, can reach a staggering $120, 000 (or even more). In general, the nurse practitioner salary range is between $77, 750 and $103, 500 per year, way above the amount received by ordinary Americans working outside the healthcare industry.
Factors Affecting Nurse Practitioner Salary
A nurse practitioner career can be considered one of the most lucrative professions in the U.S., but in the long run, one will realize that the job is more than a money-generating vocation; it entails passion and a genuine heart to serve. For instance, if you’re the type of person who is dying to be an instant millionaire, you better think twice before entering the profession. Aside from the usual challenges, an NP wannabe should also consider certain factors that affect a nurse practitioner wage: Years of experience
This is one of the most obvious criteria by which your salary range will be based on. Of course, don’t expect a higher income if you’re just starting out because as we all know, seniority and years of competitive clinical exposure play a big part in determining one’s value within the healthcare industry. Unions for nurse practitioners are also a factor in their work. Though it’s not applicable in certain states, a nurse practitioner salary can be highly increased, especially in terms of overtime pay, if he/she is a part of a union.
Place of work can also be a factor on a nurse practitioner wage. There’s a wide difference between urban and rural areas as far as a nurse practitioner salary is concerned. In New York and Los Angeles, for example, the volume of patients received in hospitals on a daily basis and the nurses’ standard of living are significantly higher than in other states. With that, it is just fair to give nurses assigned there, an equally high amount of compensation. In addition to that, hospitals commonly pay higher than clinics because the former requires bigger responsibilities from nurse practitioners compared to the latter.
Time of work or schedule of duty is also a factor in a nurse practitioner salary. Though nurses usually don’t prefer to work during graveyard shifts, most employers offer higher nurse practitioner salary to those who are more than willing to. The additional pay is called night shift differential, most nurses that are employed exclusively for graveyard shift also have a higher sign in bonus than that of day shift nurses. Consequently, changing work schedule is a part of the traditional nursing life.
Specializations, also influences nurse practitioner compensation. As compared to a nurse practitioner in general practice, a nurse practitioner with a specialization has greater responsibilities and more complex tasks waiting along their ways. The NP wage that they receive is significantly higher to give justice for their untiring efforts to deepen their expertise in the chosen field of specialization. There are nurse practitioners who visits clients at home (family nurse practitioner). There are also nurse practitioners who take care of your young children (pediatric nurse practitioner). Nurse practitioners who take charge of the neonatal intensive care unit are called neonatal nurse practitioners. There are also nurse practitioners who performs the tasks of the psychiatric doctor within a mental institution (psychiatric nurse practitioner).
Nursing Practitioner Wage Variations
Aside from the factors mentioned above, a starting nurse practitioner must also be interested on how a nurse practitioner wage differs according to states and NP categories. If you’re about to choose a place where you can offer your skills and expertise, you should obviously include those states that offer the highest nurse practitioner compensation at the top of your list. According to the latest reports made by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, those states are as follows:
- California: $87,480 per year, on average
- Massachusetts: $84,990 per year, on average
- Hawaii: $82,130 per year, on average
- Alaska: $79,350 per year, on average
- Maryland: $76,450 per year, on average
You might as well know that there are two types of a nurse practitioner: clinical and administrative. Under the clinical category, nurse anesthetists (CRNA’s) top the list with a whopping salary ranging from $80,123 – $171,695, according to www.Payscale.com. For the administrative type, nurse managers lead the pack with a starting salary of $80, 000 according to www.Indeed.com. Moreover, it is said that if you want to sail your own boat, then nurse practitioner may be the best route of career for you. This is as compared to physician assistants when it comes to autonomy at work. Consequently, nurse practitioner salary is competitive and is definitely worth considering, not just as a career but a profession you can be proud of.