Nurse practitioners are a type of primary health care provider that works independently of physicians. An aspiring nurse practitioner is expected to be a registered nurse with a graduate degree in nursing. A nurse practitioner often specializes in women’s health, family practice, pediatrics, or geriatrics. In this article, we will look at some of the nurse practitioner programs offered in the United States.
How to Select a Nurse Practitioner College and School
A prospective nurse practitioner is expected to hold a master degree in nursing science focused on a nurse practitioner area of concentration. A registered nurse who is ambitious and seeks an advanced position in the field can choose to enroll in a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program. Depending on their professional ambition, prospective nurse practitioners would prefer one program to another.
A graduate can equip themselves with the knowledge and skills needed for a career as a nurse practitioner by completing a graduate degree program in nursing science. Advanced clinical skills and health care management training are imparted through a Doctor of Nursing (DNP) program. Completing a DNP program will help a graduate get employed as a nurse clinician, nurse practitioner or a teacher in the field. By 2015, The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is proposing a shift to the new DNP program as the new standard for nurse practitioner education.
Another consideration for potential applicants is the type of concentration areas offered through a nurse practitioner degree program. There are popular areas of emphasis including neonatal nurse practitioner, pediatrics nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and critical care nurse practitioner. Students should only consider colleges or universities that have emphasis areas, which are of interest to them.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Master of Science in Nursing programs can be considered by students who hold a bachelor degree in an area that is unrelated to nursing. This would allow exclusive focus by students on nursing science programs. It takes full-time study of two years to complete the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program followed by another three years to complete the Master of Science in Nursing program. Aspiring nurse practitioners without prior experience in nursing can opt for entry-level MSN programs; such enrollment will also entitle them to licensure before the completion of their graduation from a program in nursing science.
Unique clinical instruction and flexible degree programs are crucial considerations for potential students. There are nurse practitioner degree programs that can be completed on a part time basis by students; however, these programs are suitable for students with other responsibilities and it takes much longer to complete. Clinical experience in the best surgical practices, acute care centers and hospitals are attractive to potential nurse practitioners because it contributes to the quality of education.