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Things You Should Know About a Nurse Practitioner

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

Nurse Practitioner Facts That You Should Know

Nurse Practitioners (NP) are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses who provide primary, acute and specialty care on their own or with a doctor. NPs require a Master’s degree and certification that lets them practice beyond the scope of a typical nurse. These added responsibilities come with a new world of professional opportunities. Recently, the demand for jobs has exploded. Their ability to care for patients individually has become invaluable in a nursing shortage. Before you dive into this growing profession, here are nurse practitioner facts that you ought to know.

What a Nurse Practitioner does:

Something you need to know before becoming a nurse practitioner is that the scope of the work is broad. NPs are trained to assess, diagnose, and treat patients. Treatment can come from prescribing medication, suggesting lifestyle changes or other procedures. They are trusted to run physical tests on their patients, while keeping private patient histories. All this contributes to a holistic approach to healthcare. In other words, they look at their patient’s health “as a whole.” In doing so, they tailor their approach around their patients’ unique physical, mental and emotional needs.

NPs have a wealth of job opportunities

Fun fact about nurse practitioners: demand for them is at an all time high. The BLS projected that overall employment for nurse practitioners will increase 45% from 2020 to 2029, which is far greater than the average job. This is also expected to have a positive effect on nurse practitioner salary, which currently sits at around $112,868, This growth can mainly be attributed to the aforementioned nurse shortages that are expected to continue through 2030. Rural areas in need of more healthcare providers and an aging population requiring more medical attention also spike the NP’s value considerably. Clearly, nurse practitioners can expect a diverse range of lucrative career opportunities.

The number of NPs is constantly growing

Interest in NP profession is greater than it has ever been. From 2010 to 2017, the number of nurse practitioners increased from 91,000 to 190,000. By 2019, it had ballooned to 290,000. This is a fact you need to know about NPs; even with record-setting demand, you have to prepare for its competitiveness. With nursing shortages expected to continue through 2030 and the nurse practitioner salary continuing to increase we can only expect this number to steadily increase in the coming years.

Practice Rights Depend on States

Practice regulations are one of the most important things you should know about nurse practitioners. Some states provide less restrictions while others heavily regulate their NPs. As it stands, there are currently three kinds of practice regulation:

  • Full practice states allow nurses to prescribe, diagnose and treat patients without physician oversight.

  • Reduced authority states require physicians before prescriptions.

  • In restricted authority states, NPs require physician oversight for prescription, diagnosis and treatment.

The AANP provides a map that lists each state’s practice regulation status. It is important to know your state’s NP policies before becoming a nurse practitioner. Because restrictions are constantly being discussed by legislators, it pays to stay updated on the changing NP laws across states.

Number of Patients Seen

Before getting into any job, you want to know the workload in an average shift. The average number of patients seen per day by a nurse practitioner sits at around 24 a day (at around $70 per patient). To gauge profitability, consider different factors like your living costs, salary and benefits. Fun fact about nurse practitioners: combined, they see over 1.06 billion patients in America. That is a testament to just how much the healthcare industry relies on them.

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