Education

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner & Specialties

Who is a Nurse Practitioner?

Who is a nurse practitioner and what are some nurse practitioner specialties? A nurse practitioner may also be referred to as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), who works in a healthcare setting such as a hospital, private clinic, or a private practice setting. The nurse practitioner holds a master’s degree in nursing along with additional training in a specialty that is licensed by the board. In comparison to registered nurses, the APRN is more suitable to work closely with the patient such as diagnosing illnesses, taking the patient’s physical examination, providing advanced medical treatment which is similar to a doctor. The nurse practitioner’s specialty training can be of any kind, such as pediatrics or women’s health for which they have advanced learning and training to match their patient’s needs and take better care. The nurse practitioner is licensed under the state’s Nurse Practice Act when he/she chooses to practice. Having passed the national board exam, the NP can benefit from it by adding another credential to their specification. Becoming an NP in today’s time can be very beneficial for the aspiring candidate as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this profession is anticipated to grow by 52% by the year 2029, making it one of the fastest-growing professions in the US. To be a successful NP, the candidate needs to:

  1. Update themselves with the latest developments in the healthcare industry and medical field
  2. Excel in their communication skills to gain the patient’s trust, gain better insight into their medical history, and keep an accurate record of their data
  3. Be more empathetic towards their patients as well as show compassion
  4. Should be more analytical in thinking and pay attention to details

Types of Nurse Practitioners & How to Become One?

Types of nurse practitioners/nurse practitioner specialties & how to become one? Becoming a nurse practitioner may be the most honorable and rewarding job currently, for which the medical students would need to elect a degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) over the normal course. The course for a registered nurse would include two years of diploma but the BSN is double that. This means that there is better growth opportunity and a more profitable income. This is what attracts most candidates who are part of aggressive competition and seek specializations to focus on specific areas of medicine and earn better credentials. The work of an NP focuses on specific medical treatments and curing illnesses that may even be acute. So, here are a few types of nurse practitioners of nurse practitioner specialties:

  1. General/Nurse Practitioners
  2. Pediatric/Family Nurse Practitioners
  3. Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners
  4. Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Practitioners
  5. Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioners
  6. Neonatal Nurse Practitioners
  7. Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners

Types of nurse practitioners/nurse practitioner specialties & how to become one? The majority of the NPs start by earning their diploma, which could be a choice between an associate degree in nursing (ADN), which lasts for two years or avail a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), which is a four-year degree. After the degree, the NPs can choose to work professionally once they are licensed as a registered nurse, which will increase their training period and enhance their experiences and abilities in a work environment, working with other healthcare professionals. The clinical environment of a hospital or a clinic is always a good option for a nurse practitioner to acquire more experience as it will be beneficial when they’re applying for advanced practice registered nursing programs to advance from being a registered nurse to a nurse practitioner.

The job role of an NP can vary depending on their work settings such as the following:

  1. Clinics and lab environments would be suitable for research nurse practitioners
  2. General nurse practitioners may supervise another nurse in a hospital/clinic work setting
  3. A nurse practitioner might be the most qualified healthcare professional in a rural/underdeveloped region
  4. In the case of practicing individually, NPs may work in association with physicians but are capable of certain duties (prescribing medication, physical examination, etc) without any supervision

What are some Nurse Practitioner Specialties?

The following are some nurse practitioner specialties:

1. A Family Practice Nurse Practitioner (FNP) provides health care services to patients of all ages, be in infants, adults, or the elderly. They are family-focused NPs who need to do the patient’s physical examination, maintain their records, order their diagnostic examinations from the labs, prescribe them with necessary medication and plan their treatment, based on their illness. The family practice nurse practitioner can collaborate with a primary care physician or choose to operate their own private practice to treat families. They are free to work in all kinds of medical settings as they like.

2. A Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) is someone who helps patients with mental health disorders or psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety disorder, clinical depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, autism, or more. The treatment here would include providing counseling, listening to their patients to add comfort and make a positive change in the patient’s life. The mental and emotional support can be provided to an individual, a family, and a group, whosoever required it. The NPs need to work very closely with their patients and keep tabs on their progress to provide the right doses of medications. Here too, the psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner can choose to collaborate with a psychiatrist to treat all kinds of disorders and provide care to these patients. The empathetic skills will really work in favor of this specialty along with patience, communication, and compassion.

3. The Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (PNP) provides care to adolescents, infants, newborns, and children under the age of 15-16. Their work includes helping in the complete health of the child or to treat any acute illness/chronic condition. The work settings can be as per the NPs choice, such as in specialty clinics, hospitals, school health centers, or pediatric clinics. The experience of working with kids is a bonus along with being certified by the board in order to take the pediatric specialty course.

Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner – A Rarity in NP Specialities

The orthopedic nurse practitioner is a specialized nurse who has taken their specialty in the treatment of issues related to the musculoskeletal system. Their patients may suffer from injuries to the bone, joints, connective tissues, or muscles. When it comes to musculoskeletal system issues, it could also mean an abnormality or deformation resulting from the genes, which can also lead to other illnesses and diseases. The common issues that an Orthopedic nurse practitioner would treat their patient for would be muscle sprain, temporomandibular joint disorder, arthritis of fracturing of bones. The Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners make for a very small percentage of total nurse practitioners that are currently practicing in the States and part of the reason is that the training for this specialty is more advanced in comparison. Based on recent data, the average income of an orthopedic nurse practitioner is $100,035 per annum. The work setting may differ for the NP which means that there may be a chance of hourly rates along with benefits from overtime pay. Although, with extra credentials and experience, this figure can be increased easily.

A Few More Additions to the Nurse Practitioner Specialties List

Here are a few more additions to the nurse practitioner specialties list:

  1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): The job of a CRNA is to provide anesthesia to a patient getting surgery. They require a higher level of training to ensure that their medical decisions are exceptionally accurate and guard on the patient’s reaction pre and post-surgery.
  2. Acute Care Nurse Practitioners: These are the nurses that work inside ICUs so the decision-making skills need to be great while working under pressure. The work here includes measuring the patient’s vitals, attend to the wounds, insert IV fluids, and patiently act as the median between the patient and their family.
  3. Certified Midwife Nurse Practitioner: The certified nurse wife (CNM) cares for the mother during her pregnancy period, through her labor, and while she gives birth. Along with working with Obstetricians, they also are with the patients till they give birth and post-care therapy. It is important for the midwife to be mental support, emotional support, and physical support through the entire procedure of the mother’s pregnancy. Although in case of any complications, they need to act with the right instincts and act quickly to help rescue both lives over just one. The post-birth period is when the CNM nurse practitioner helps educate the mother on how to take care of the baby, such as tips regarding breastfeeding and give complete follow-up care to them.

Read More: Click here to find more about the differences between physician vs doctor or learn more about the history of doctor and medicine.

Content for MD:
How to Become a Nurse Practitioner & Specialties – Guide by Mepiper on types of nurse practitioners, how to become one and what are their specialties.

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