Nurse Practitioners work in every clinical environment available to the healthcare field. In fact, these advanced practice nurses are employed in all 50 states, as well as in the District of Columbia. Many hold advanced degrees (i.e., Masters Degree or above), but not all states require an individual to hold an advanced degree to qualify for this position. Each state establishes its own licensing and certification requirements and processes and regulates via the State Board of Nursing. It is important to note, however, that most states do, indeed, require both the advanced degree and proper certification before an individual can qualify to take on the role of Nurse Practitioner.
Nurse Practitioner vs. Physician Assistant: What’s the Difference
While the Nurse Practitioner and Physician’s Assistant can perform their duties in similar clinical settings and can perform very similar functions as a part of their daily duties, there are some distinctions that separate the two. The biggest – their background and training.
The Nurse Practitioner is, essentially, an individual who has successfully performed as a Registered Nurse and who has returned to school for an advanced degree. On the contrary, Physician’s Assistants can often go straight through in their training and arrive in the position with absolutely no on-the-job training.
Tennessee: Nurse Practitioners at-a-glance
Who governs/grants licenses to NPs: Tennessee Board of Nursing
Do you need to be an RN? Yes
Do you need a Master of Science in Nursing to become a NP? Yes, having a graduate degree from an advanced nursing education program (Master of Science Nursing) is required to become a Tennessee nurse practitioner.
Are there other requirements? Yes, you must obtain certification from a national organization.
How much does a Nurse Practitioner earn in Tennessee? $87,000 per year (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? In Tennessee, the general authority to prescribe medication is evidenced on the certification documentation regulated by the state’s certification issuing board.
Do NPs need a physician’s supervision to prescribe medication? The name of the collaborating physician must be present on each prescription given by a Tennessee nurse practitioner.
Is there some drug classifications NPs cannot prescribed? In the state of Tennessee, authority to prescribe controlled substances includes Schedule II-V as outlined in the collaborating physician’s supervisory rules and the prescriber’s prescriptive formulary.
Tennessee: Nurse Practitioner Outlook
In its report, “The Future of Nursing,” published in 2010, The Institute of Medicine recommended states increase the scope of Nurse Practitioners, thus, empowering them to become more effective providers of primary care. After all, the Nurse Practitioner is, indeed, required to complete advanced training to even qualify for the position. The IOM argued that doing so would allow them to utilize their training to the fullest. When they looked into the state of the Tennessee Healthcare System as it relates especially to Medicare, they indeed found that Tennessee holds quite a bit of room for improvement.
With the current shortage of physicians in the United States, coupled with the glowing recommendation from the Obama Administration about the critical role that Nurse Practitioners and Physician’s Assistants could play in relieving the nation’s healthcare system challenges, the overall outlook for both NPs and PAs are very bright. During the 12-month period between May 2010 and April 2011, Monster.com reported nursing as the number one healthcare job listing; listings for physician’s assistant ranked number six in the healthcare sector. Both of the aforementioned positioned were ranked among the top 50 best careers according to U.S. News and World Report.
Even amid the economic woes that the United States has faced over the past few years, salaries and demand for Nurse Practitioners and Physician’s Assistants have remained strong and steady. Amid all the positive publicity and the fact that this segment of the healthcare field is strong and growing, job growth is expected to be strong for NPs and PAs over the next five years. A 2011 survey on the nursing field indicated salaries for NPs averaged $90,583 across our nation while PAs salaries averaged $94,870 nationally for the same time period.