The role of a nurse practitioner extends to every state in the Union. Each regulates the standard educational requirements and practice restrictions for their area. On average, a NP is a registered nurse who continues his or her education to get a Master of Science in Nursing degree or even a doctorate. Nurse practitioners have been working in the healthcare industry since the mid-1960s, according to Mayo School of Health Sciences. The role came out of the need for physicians during that era. Currently, 16 states and the District of Columbia allow nurse practitioners to work without physician supervision. Other states insist the nurse’s practice collaborate with physicians to get the appropriate licensing.
Nurse Practitioner vs. Physician Assistant: What’s the Difference
The difference between a Nurse Practitioner and a Physician Assistant can be confusing. The primary variance is in the experience. A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with clinical work experience. A physician assistant is an individual that completes a PA program that does not require previous medical training.
The combination of a nursing degree, advanced education and clinical training provides the NP with insight to make a diagnosis and deal with emerging and chronic illnesses. A nurse practitioner focuses on wellness care and counseling.
A PA trains to provide diagnostic, therapeutic and wellness care overseen by a medical doctor. They work as part of a team of professionals in a traditional office setting to examine patients, take medical histories, order tests and make a diagnosis. A PA can do some minor procedures, as well.
Florida: Nurse Practitioners at-a-glance
Number of NPs: 12,677
NPs per 100,000 populations: 67
Who governs/grants licenses to NPS: Florida Board of Nursing
Do you need to be an RN? Yes
Do you need a Master of Science in Nursing to become a NP? No, a nurse has three options to receive a Florida nurse practitioner license:
•Formal, post-basic educational program to prepare for advanced practice
•Certification by a specialty board
•Completion of a master’s degree program
Are there other requirements? Yes, a Florida NP must have a good ethical standing in the nursing industry, show proof of malpractice insurance and certification from a national advanced practice nursing board.
How much does a Nurse Practitioner earn in Florida? $89,000 per year (Salaries vary based on the employment setting, geographic location, educational background and years of experience)
Do NPs need a physician’s supervision for diagnosis and treatment? No, nurse practitioners in Florida may have their own private practice that requires no collaboration with a medical doctor.
Do NPs need a physician’s supervision to prescribe medication? No, Florida nurse practitioners may prescribe general medication without supervision. NPs have no access to drugs listed as controlled substances.
Florida: Nurse Practitioner Outlook
According to Community Catalyst, a national advocacy group for health care reform, Florida misses the mark in improving patient care because it fails to use nurse practitioners effectively for primary services. There is currently a shortage of physicians nationwide. States like Florida could resolve some of the back up by utilizing NPs in primary care roles for structured programs like Medicaid.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are introducing changes to the healthcare industry as a whole. The national role for nurse practitioners is likely to change, as well. In 2011, the White House opted to remove some restrictions placed on professionals in this field to help relieve likely shortages of physicians. This means the Florida nurse practitioner will probably be a key in expanding primary care to provide immediate support.
The introduction of new policies will mean many new insured individuals in the state. Florida population is growing exponentially each year. When you combine the number of incoming residents with the changes in the insurance platform, the need for advanced healthcare professionals will expand. With the number of working physicians expected to drop, nurse practitioners may step in to fill the void. The use of NPs in this fashion has gotten some opposition from physician groups because of the lack of supervision, but that is one reason the outlook is especially promising for Florida nurse practitioners.