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Colorado Nurse Practitioners

Career News September 14, 2013

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses. These nurses, along with other advanced practice nurses like nurse midwives, have returned to school and earned a Master Science of Nursing. With their postgraduate degree, these professionals are able to perform more services than most other nurses.

In many cases, they may act as their patients’ primary care provider, or they may even provide care for patients with chronic issues.

As health care jobs continue to multiply, so too will nurse practitioner jobs. Many analysts even suggest that the number of nurse practitioners will grow in order to keep health costs low. Some analysts estimate that nurse practitioners will bill insurance companies at 85% of the rate that doctors bill them. Thus, turning to nurse practitioners, patients and insurance companies can save money. Eventually, more and more clinics are moving to this model of care.

The licensing requirements for these professionals vary from state to state. For instance, a Colorado nurse practitioner must meet different criteria than one from Kansas. In most cases, these nurses must complete an advanced degree and then pass an exam, for the state in which they wish to practice.

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

Many patients may see a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant instead of a doctor. These two professionals look like they perform remarkably similar tasks, whereas they do. They both act as primary care providers, diagnosing illnesses, counseling patients, and prescribing medicines. However, there is one key difference between nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and that is the path they take to their career.

Physician assistants, typically, have a master’s degree in health care. Nurse practitioners also have a master’s science of nursing degree, but they only start these degrees after years of working as a nurse. Nurse practitioners may start their advanced degree after working in healthcare for at least a decade. In contrast, many physician assistants start their health care training directly out of high school.

Colorado: Nurse Practitioners at-a-glance

Number of NPs: 3,184

NPs per 100,000 populations: 62.2

Who governs/grants licenses to NPS: Colorado 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?

Applicants must complete an NP program and pass an exam.

How much can Nurse Practitioners earn in Colorado?

$82,000. 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 medicine?

No. However, in order to prescribe medication, a Colorado nurse practitioner must have a graduate degree in nursing, must have completed certain courses about the use of controlled substances and drugs, and must have at least 1800 hours of post graduate experience in a clinical setting.

Is there some drug classifications NPs cannot prescribed?

A Colorado Nurse practitioner may prescribe drugs from schedules II through V.

Colorado: Nurse Practitioner Outlook

According to Community Catalyst, Colorado makes the grade when it comes to nurse practitioners. These professionals are able to handle the needs of patients for less money than doctors.

By expanding the role of the Colorado nurse practitioner, the state has made inroads to providing more care for more citizens. It is also assumed that since these professionals have so much experience, prior to getting their advanced degree, that they may be able to provide a higher degree of care than many other healthcare workers.

Sadly, Colorado has missed the mark in a few categories. They have no payment incentives to reduce the number of re-admissions to hospitals. They have also failed to set fair prices for prescription drugs, and they should provide more in home care.

As the number of nurse practitioners increases in this state, many analysts assume that these problems will be fixed.

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