What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse PractitionerAn individual who wants to pursue a rewarding career in the medical field may ask the question: What is a nurse practitioner? Nurse practitioners are in great demand due to the large number of people in the baby boom generation who need medical care. The following provides an answer to this question for those interested in learning more about this exciting career. Also, find some further details regarding what is involved in the work of a nurse practitioner.


The Occupation of Nurse Practitioner

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, someone who has a career as a nurse practitioner does a lot of the same things a medical doctor does. A nurse practitioner performs medical exams, consults patients about their symptoms and talks with patients about their medical history. A nurse practitioner can even order various tests and prescribe medication. Today, there are many nurse practitioners who focus on educating their patients about illness prevention and establishing healthy habits. If a patient needs to be seen by a specialist, a nurse practitioner can make a referral. The biggest difference between a nurse practitioner and a medical doctor is education. A medical doctor spends more years in school to qualify to be a physician.

Education Requirements

In order to become a nurse practitioner, a person has to qualify as a registered nurse. Then, the person must complete the qualifications to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). This includes earning a master's degree and taking the appropriate exams to become licensed in their state. Licensing qualifications differ from state to state.

Where Do Nurse Practitioners Work?

Nurse practitioners work in many different areas of medicine. Some examples include womens medicine, pediatrics and family medicine. In some cases, a nurse practitioner will work in an office with physicians so he or she has other medical professionals to consult with on various cases. Nurse practitioners are found in hospitals, clinics and private practices. A nurse practitioner may even visit patients who cannot leave their homes for medical reasons.

Personal Qualities and Skills

As with many other careers, there are certain personal qualities and skills that can help a person to succeed as a nurse practitioner. One personal quality is understanding. A nurse practitioner must be able to listen to the concerns of patients and respond with compassion. Some people refer to this as a good ‘bedside manner.' Another positive quality in a nurse practitioner is enthusiasm. A nurse practitioner who is enthusiastic about his or her work is going to make a favorable impression on patients. People will see that the practitioner has genuine interest in his or her patients and work. Organization is a valuable skill for a nurse practitioner to possess. Making notes in patient files and relaying important medical information to nurses are two examples of what an organized nurse practitioner does. A nurse practitioner should also develop his or her computer skills. Communicating with patients via email is more common in today's world. Plus, there are many pharmacies who communicate with doctors via the Internet.

Related Resource: Doctor of Nursing Practice

Finally, someone pursuing an occupation as a nurse practitioner has the opportunity to work directly with patients in a meaningful way. A professional who educates patients on how to lead healthier lives is one answer to the question: What is a nurse practitioner?

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