It's a profession that's in high demand. Nurse practitioner jobs are available in countries that have designated this particular classification, such as Australia, the United States, and in Canada. To become a nurse practitioner (NP), one must first become a registered nurse (RN) and then continue on to more advanced education and clinical experience. A master's degree is required.
NPs typically have more responsibilities than RNs or other nurse classifications. The level of autonomy at which they practice depends in large part on where they work. Some NPs must work in tandem with a physician while others are permitted to treat patients more independently. A license is required to work as an NP, usually issued by the state nursing board or other such jurisdiction, depending on the country.
NPs often work in consultation with physicians. NPs can and do treat patients independent of physician supervision in some areas, again depending on the what the license allows for in the state or country where he or she is employed. Usually an NP will specialize in a particular are of practice, and their designation will reflect that specialty. Examples include family practice (FNP), pediatrics (PNP), neonatology (NNP), gerontology (GNP), women's health (WHNP), psychiatry and mental health (PMHNP), oncology (ONP) and acute care (ACNP).
Direct patient care is provided by NPs in any number of facilities and settings. NPs work in hospitals, clinics, private offices, operating rooms, nursing homes, and other places where health care is delivered. Duties of NPs include diagnosing, evaluating, treating, and managing illnesses and diseases. NPs can prescribe medications and order diagnostic examinations like blood work, scans, and x-rays. In some areas, NPs are authorized to perform certain types of surgeries.
Sometimes NPs may work in supervisory roles. NPs are frequently responsible for training and overseeing the work of subordinate staff who have lesser training, credentials, or clinical experience. Some NPs work as researchers, others as full time patient advocates. Some teach in nursing schools or universities.
The practice of an NP will vary depending on the area of specialization he or she chooses to work in and on the terms of employment negotiated with the particular employer. There are some standards and core philosophies, common to all NPs. A common focus is on patients as individuals, and on empowering patients through health education.
NPs are required to earn continuing education units as a condition of their licensure. This is an important requirement, as the delivery of health care continues to evolve. Not only does health care technology continually change and improve, but so to do the roles of health care providers evolve and shift.
There are a number of recruiting agencies with up to date information about the availability of nurse practitioner jobs in several locations. Information about license validity between regions is available from each licensing jurisdiction. Data about NP salaries by specialization has been compiled and is available, often from hiring agencies as well as from programs offering NP certification courses. It is a popular, high-demand profession.