In order to understand on a general level why one might be interested in becoming a nurse practitioner, it’s important to understand what exactly changes when you do gain a nurse practitioner license.
Through specialized education required for nurse practitioners to practice within their population foci (family/individual across the lifespan, adult-gerontology, pediatrics, neonatal, women’s health/gender-related or psych/mental health), nurse practitioners attain a more indepth and broad skillset.
Day to day, what does a more indepth and broad skillset mean? For those who are drawn toward taking on challenges and giving instead of taking orders, duties of a nurse practitioner can seem much more appealing and rewarding. For example, as a registered nurse, you will spend time explaining why diagnoses are made, what treatments are for, and implement routine care as prescribed. As a nurse practitioner, you will be making the diagnoses, prescribing the treatments and ordering the care from nurses and other medical staff.
For those who want their career to have more meaning and greater impact in their lives, becoming a nurse practitioner can make all the difference.
A fact of life for nurse practitioners that is also a result gaining advanced knowledge and skills is a large increase in autonomy. This means you will manage a panel of patients all on your own. Diagnoses will be made and treatments will be prescribed without anyone looking over your shoulder or questioning your judgement (as long as diagnoses and treatments under your supervision do not have a history of unorthodoxy or unusually poor outcomes).
Autonomy in one’s position is a common characteristic of highly satisfying jobs.
When speaking with nurse practitioners, you may not understand why we mention the work/life balance as benefit. True, many nurse practitioners can work long hours and heavy weeks. However, as opposed to many registered nurses, long hours are usually that way because the nurse practitioner wants it that way and thrives within their autonomous roles.
Additionally, if a nurse practitioner wants to work part-time or have extended vacations, they are very frequently given any leeway they request. Why? Well, nurse practitioners are some of the most sought after and overall important assets within all healthcare settings. For nurse practitioners who continue their education and stay on top of the newest technologies and treatments, you will find NP employers incredibly flexible as a way to keep their nurse practitioner at their facility and within their organization.
Alongside the section above, many nurse practitioners have been able to carve out a work/life balance that looks closer to part-time than full-time all while bringing in surprisingly high salaries. Your number can get supercharged with greater expertise combined with focused advanced education to help with your population foci.
With the help of standardization of education and organizations such as the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) helping with regulatory knowledge and the Nursing Licensure Compact, licensure steps for nurse practitioners are often straightforward. However, each state’s legislature is in charge of developing regulations that guide their state’s licensing board and complexities and differences can arise.
Select your state to learn about the specific process of Nurse Practitioner license where you live.