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NursingNurse Practitioners: How They Can Transform Healthcare

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have completed advanced training and education in a sector focused on healthcare, while also meeting the standards established by their governing body.

They may be recognized as a specialist or possess an area of expertise in their nursing practice, which qualifies them to diagnose certain health conditions and prescribe medication. They can deliver care to patients of all ages, across the community, alongside other healthcare providers.

Nurse practitioners play a vital role in our healthcare system by providing much-needed access to medical services and preventing unplanned hospital admissions for minor illnesses.

How Do You Become a Nurse Practitioner?

If you are considering studying to become a nurse practitioner (NP), it is important to understand the education and training requirements for this career.

NPs will generally require an undergraduate or graduate degree in nursing, and must successfully become a registered nurse (RN) before applying for NP programs.

NP programs require applicants to submit a bachelor’s degree, and some NP programs also require applicants to possess experience as an RN.

Aspiring NPs typically complete three or more years of post-graduate education, or graduate school. During this time, students will often study both the science behind medicine, along with medical teaching methods, before undertaking clinical rotations.

NPs hold the position of a healthcare provider – they are trained to diagnose health conditions, and treat patients, to improve their quality of life.

What Can a Nurse Practitioner Provide?

In addition to providing medical treatments, NPs may also provide psychosocial services, such as advising patients on the best method of recovery and helping them cope with chronic diseases or other health conditions.

For example, NPs can provide treatment for post-partum depression, by encouraging mothers to develop a support network to help them better manage their own needs.

Nurse Practitioners and Their Role in Regulation

The healthcare legislation framework in the United States, has recently changed as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

That means that nurse practitioners now have access to specialty certification and pay scale opportunities that were once limited to doctors.

In addition, hospitals will now be able to hire registered nurses and NPs to take over the majority of routine tasks.

The Importance of NPs

Nurse practitioners are competent general practitioners, and often provide the majority of primary care services in community-based healthcare facilities.

Clinical expertise and experience are required to care for patients with chronic diseases, such as asthma and diabetes, as well as mental health conditions. NPs can play a pivotal role in delivering physical therapy procedures to those with broken bones, or recovering from a stroke, for example.

Nurse Practitioners: Improving the Health of the Community

If you are looking for a career where you can make a real difference to the lives of others, and you’re prepared to work long hours, this may be the right role for you. Here’s a taste of what nurse practitioners can do:

Provide Access to Care

For individuals without easy access to medical care or healthcare providers, nurse practitioners can make it easier to receive medical attention, particularly for those with chronic illnesses or injuries that require continuous treatment.

Provide Cost-Effective Services

For many individuals, medications can be expensive, and healthcare facilities charge hefty fees for their services. As an NP, you can provide services at a lower cost while maintaining the quality of care.

Prevent Hospital Admissions

As previously mentioned, NPs can help those with minor ailments, avoid unnecessary hospital admissions. They can also assist with hospital discharge planning, so individuals are prepared to return home and manage their conditions.

Connect Community Members to Various Services

NPs can provide community members with important information about local resources and community events that may benefit their health. This can be especially beneficial in rural areas where access to medical treatment is likely to be limited.

The Boom of Nurse Practitioners in Modern Healthcare

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for nurse practitioners is growing, and nursing in general, is one of the fastest-growing careers in the United States.

Nurse practitioners can also enjoy higher salaries than many other healthcare professionals, with a mean annual pay of $115,000. As with every profession, it comes with certain challenges…

Challenges for nurse practitioners, include the need for strict regulations that ensure quality of care, despite training and licensing requirements being only partially in place, at the present time.

Furthermore, finding work can be difficult at times, due to the current health care legislation in the United States.

What are your Nurse Specialty Options?

To become a nurse practitioner, you’ll need to attend an accredited university and complete specific courses in preparation for the certification exam.

Some examples of nurse specialties include:

Family Nurse Practitioner

FNPs work with families to help with the care and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults.

Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

GNP’s work with the elderly to address their medical, psychosocial, vocational and social needs, in a variety of settings, including nursing homes.

Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioners

This specialty focuses on helping people suffering from mental illnesses such as depression or psychosis.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners

The women’s health nurse practitioner role is an important position in modern healthcare. WHNPs specialize in protecting and improving the health of women during their lifetimes, particularly those who are pregnant.

As a specialized NP, you can research new ways to work with your patients to improve their quality of life and reduce their likelihood of illnesses or injury. You could even develop your own practice by focusing on a specific area in which you’d prefer to specialize.

Nurse Practitioners: The Future of Primary Care?

Nurse practitioners are trained to diagnose, treat, and monitor patients, without a doctor’s assistance.

In the near future, they could provide the majority of primary care in many areas across the United States.

With their increasing demand and growing role in modern healthcare, nurse practitioners are an important part of any healthcare organization’s future.

Interested in learning more about nurse practitioners? Consider consulting with a healthcare recruiter, or set up a meeting with a nurse practitioner who has many years of experience.

The Upside of Being a Professional NP

The field of advanced practice nursing provides many opportunities for nurses with advanced degrees and licenses.

The main roles of NPs are to provide primary care, diagnose and treat illness, confirm a diagnosis and manage a patient’s health conditions, alongside other nurses, physicians, and medical staff.

These professionals have the authority to perform physical exams, take x-rays, and order tests to be run at a lab. Nurse practitioners work in community health centers, hospitals, or their own practices.

NPs may also write their own prescriptions for medications.

The Impact of Healthcare Reform on Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioner (NP) practice, is increasing across the United States.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for nurse practitioners is growing, and nursing overall, is one of the fastest-growing careers in America.

As a highly trained professional who can diagnose and treat illness with minimal supervision, the role of nurse practitioners is becoming all the more popular.

Nurse Practitioners in Hospitals

Most hospitals employ nurse practitioners (NPs). When you begin your career as an NP, you will likely be assigned to a hospital unit where your main job is to provide care for patients who are recovering from an illness or injury.

Using your skills to make patients more comfortable in their convalescence, is the first job of a nurse practitioner.

For example, you may implement a physical exam, administer various medications and make sure that patients get the nutrition they need to recover.

You will also monitor their progress and keep in close contact with their primary care physician.

As you gain experience, you may want to consider moving up the ladder of your hospital unit, to become an educator of other nurses and medical staff who work in this department.

To continue your education, you may want to consider taking classes to become a nurse practitioner.

Conclusion

Nurse practitioners can become certified to practice in a wide variety of specialties, including pediatrics, geriatrics, and women’s health, as well as diagnosing and treating medical conditions.

Indeed, there is no end to the variety of roles that NPs can have in the future, with the advancement of advanced practice nursing.

With their growing demand and increasing importance in modern healthcare, nurse practitioners are a principal part of any healthcare organization’s future.

Being a nurse practitioner does not preclude you from pursuing other careers, such as physician assistant or pharmacist; naturally, you will need additional training to advance in these lines of work.

If your goal is to become a nurse practitioner, it is necessary to undertake a degree program that is approved and accredited. It also helps to have a clinical license.

The growth and popularity of this specialty sector, shows no signs of slowing down. Nurses who are interested in providing their patients with the best possible care, should consider becoming advanced practice nurses.

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Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz! aims to be the destination of choice when it comes to what’s happening in the digital health world. We are not about news and views, but informative articles and thoughts to apply in your business.

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