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Mississippi: Nurse Practitioners at a Glance

Career News September 21, 2013

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are an increasingly important part of the US health care system. These health care workers are registered nurses who have completed advanced training, usually including a master’s degree. They work in all 50 states, including Mississippi.

NPs are regulated and certified by state boards of nursing, although individual requirements and whether an NP can work independently of a collaborating physician vary from state to state.

Nurse Practitioner vs. Physician Assistant: What’s the Difference?

At first glance, the jobs of a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant (PA) may look very similar. In fact, the two jobs do perform many of the same functions. They can treat and diagnose patients as well as some of the duties traditionally reserved for physicians. However, there is one major difference between an NP and a PA.

An NP is a trained nurse with often years of clinical experience. In most states, including Mississippi, an NP must first be a registered nurse before training to be an NP. Conversely, most PAs enter their careers directly from school, without clinical experience.

Mississippi: Nurse Practitioners at a Glance

Nurse practitioners are an increasingly important part of the health care system in Mississippi. If you are thinking about pursuing a career as a Mississippi nurse practitioner, here is a little of what you need to know:

Number of NPs in Mississippi: 2,718

NPs per 100,000 populations: 91

Who governs/grants licenses to NPs: The Mississippi State Board of Nursing regulates and licenses nurse practitioners in the state of Mississippi.

Do you need to be an RN? Yes

Do you need a Master of Science in Nursing to become a NP?

A Master of Science Nursing degree or similar is one way to satisfy the NP training requirement, but is not specifically required to become an NP in Mississippi.

Are there other requirements?

Yes. In addition to having a current nursing license, an NP in Mississippi must have at least a BS in nursing, show evidence of successful completion of a graduate program with concentration in the applicant’s advanced nursing specialty, graduate from an approved NP program and be board certified in the specialty area.

How much can a Nurse Practitioner earn in Mississippi?

Nurse practitioners in Mississippi make an average salary of $112,000. (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

Do NPs need a physician’s supervision to prescribe medication? No

Is there some drug classifications NPs cannot prescribed? If so, provide details:

The authority to prescribe certain controlled substances, such as Schedule II-V drugs, requires separate approval from the Mississippi Board of Nursing.

Mississippi: Nurse Practitioner Outlook

According to Community Catalyst, a health care advocacy group, Mississippi misses the mark in holding down the cost of health care in the Magnolia State. This is, in part, because of Mississippi’s failure to fully embrace and utilize so-called mid-level health care providers like NPS, who can provide quality health care at a lower cost than do physicians.

Although Mississippi has one of the higher per capita rates of NPs in the region and the average NP salary is higher than the national average, there is still much room for improvement.

The role of nurse practitioners is likely to expand nationwide as health costs rise and the American population ages. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of all nursing jobs will increase by approximately 26 percent over the next eight years. The numbers of nurse practitioners in the United States will likely follow or exceed this trend.

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