If you are an RN or ADN looking for a way to advance in your career without spending years in the classroom, you might want to consider fast track nurse practitioner programs. According to the Mayo Clinic website it has been estimated by the American Nurses Association (ANA) that nurse practitioners could perform between 60 to 80 percent of all preventive and primary care. In this age of increased health care costs, trained certified NPs can reduce the workload on physicians and lower costs for patients while continuing to provide high levels of care.
As with many other sub-specialties in the nursing field, there are shortages of qualified NPs. For those who may be interested in this rewarding path, there are as number of options available, including fast track nurse practitioner programs, designed to shorten the time between application and certification.
Begin to plan for becoming a nurse practitioner early in your nursing career
Your first nursing assignment is not too soon to start thinking about and planning for your career path. It will help to get as much floor experience as possible, to help you decide whether you want to specialize in pediatrics, women’s health, public health, gerontology or another specialty. As you are gaining experience, let your supervisors know about your career intentions: they can often help guide and advise you regarding where to study or what programs or other requirements are necessary as well as updated regulations.
Helps and hints for choosing a nurse practitioner program
Among the requirements for becoming a nurse practitioner is an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree in a variety of approved NP tracks available at many colleges and schools of nursing. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)’s web pages on education programs for NPs offer a wealth of helpful and current information on where to find a fast track nurse practitioner program near you.
Some schools will offer accelerated nurse practitioner coursework designed to prepare a nursing applicant to take the registered nurse licensing examination (NCLEX) and, following this, obtain a BSN in Nursing at the end of two year’s study. After additional specialist modules are successfully completed, the candidate will be awarded the MS degree. Many schools offer day or evening classes to accommodate working nurses’ schedules.
If you want to save even more time, there are over 168 nationwide accelerated BSN to MSN programs available from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Their database can help prospective students find approved fast track nurse practitioner programs nearby as well as time-saving online programs.
Certification: what you need to know
Once you have completed the necessary coursework and experience in your NP specialty, you are ready to apply for certification. As the most respected and largest credentialing body worldwide, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers certification in a wide range of nurse practitioner specialties, including Acute Care, Gerontology, Family or Adult Psychiatric, Emergency, Pediatric or School. Becoming certified demonstrates your commitment and competency in nurse practitioner core requirements to potential employers, and may increase your chances of being hired and promoted as you become more experienced.
The Accreditation Board of Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC) recently awarded accreditation to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP). They offer certification for entry-level NPs through core competency examinations in Adult, Gerontology, Adult-Gerontology, and Family Nurse Practitioner.
By taking advantage of fast track nurse practitioner programs, you can meet the qualifications for entry and certification in your nurse practitioner field of specialty sooner and move forward with confidence in your chosen career path.