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South Dakota Nurse Practitioners

Career News September 21, 2013

A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse who performs many of the same functions as a doctor. These nurses may act as the primary care provider for their patients, or they may tend to patients in other settings such as rehab facilities, hospitals, or outpatients clinics. In order to become a nurse practitioner, the applicant must first be a registered nurse.

After obtaining several years of experience in the field, they may apply to a nursing school that offers advanced practice degree. Once they have completed their advanced practice degree, they may have to pass a test in their state, and then, they will be a nurse practitioner.

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

There are so many similarities between nurse practitioners and physician assistants that it can be difficult to notice the differences between these two healthcare professionals. Both treat patients by diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medicine, and tending to the other needs of patients as unnecessarily. However, in most cases, nurse practitioners enter the field with much more experience than physician assistants.

Physician’s assistants need a master’s degree in order to enter their field. However, they can gain this master degree directly after finishing their college degree. That means that they may start working as physician assistants immediately after they complete their education. Nurse practitioners, on the other hand, only enter their field after first gaining a lot of experience in nursing.

In order to become a nurse practitioner, the applicant must have a significant amount of nursing experience. Then, they can attend school for an advanced practice degree, and finally, they can start practicing. The amount of experience that these professionals have when they start their career is the key difference between them.

South Dakota: Nurse Practitioners at-a-glance

Number of NPs: 458

NPs per 100,000 populations: 55.6

Who governs/grants licenses to NPs: South Dakota 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

Are there other requirements?

You must complete an approved NP program and pass an examination if required by the Board of Nursing.

How much can a Nurse Practitioner earn in South Dakota?

The average yearly income for NPs in South Dakota is $77,000. However, salaries vary based on the employment setting, geographic location, educational background, and 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?

In South Dakota, NPs can prescribe drugs in classes II to IV.

South Dakota: Nurse Practitioner Outlook

According to the nonprofit organization Community Catalyst, South Dakota misses the mark on health care. The state needs to explore more ways of making health care more affordable while still meeting the needs of patients. The state needs to decrease hospital complications and incorporate payment incentives to reduce re-admissions to hospitals, and set better prices on prescription drugs.

In order to meet many of these objectives, the state has been advised to expand the role of nurse practitioners. NPs charge less than doctors for the same services. Thus, by expanding their role, the state can improve care while still caring adequately for patients.

Although the state rating is relatively low, there are several advantages of being a South Dakota nurse practitioner. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, South Dakota has the highest number of nurses per capita in the United States. This means that finding a job there is relatively easy.

A South Dakota nurse practitioner also earns a great salary while living in a state that has a low cost of living and no state income tax. Those reasons make this state attractive to a lot of people who wish to work as NPs in South Dakota.

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  • GCU's bachelor's and master's programs prepare students to fill roles in direct care, management, health education and administrative disciplines.
  • The baccalaureate degree in nursing and master's degree in nursing at GCU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
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