Nurse practitioner programs are available both as brick and mortar schools and online schools. Choosing a school that meets your needs both financially and educationally is important. Once trained, a nurse practitioner performs many duties similar to a doctor, such as performing a physical exam, diagnosing and prescribing medication or treatment and providing follow up care when needed.
The nurse practitioner salary isn't as high as a doctors, but the length of time in school and training is less, as well. A common place to see a nurse practitioner recently has been in a retail store medical clinic. Instead of staffing the clinic with a doctor, the clinics employ nurse practitioners and have a doctor to consult with if needed.
In order to become a nurse practitioner you must be willing to seek a masters degree because most nurse practitioner programs are masters and require you to have science and or a nursing background. As you take classes to become a certified nurse practitioner, you can, like a doctor, specialize in an area of medicine. Some specialties may be children, the aged, neurology, and even sports medicine. Providing acute care or even working in a family practice need special training, too. While the job itself doesn't change, the people, their needs and specialty of the office, clinic or hospital play a role in how you go about your job. The specialties have differences that need to be understood before treating the patients. Sometimes, that even comes down to the hours that you work.
When choosing a program, it is important like with other medical positions, to find one that is accredited. This will help you to find the best match for not only tuition costs, class size and graduation rates, but also to have the best preparation for entering the field and for doing well on the licensing exam.
Nurse practitioner wages are about ninety-one thousand dollars, as of 2012. With this salary and the ability to diagnose and treat patients, why would a person become a doctor? One reason is that an MD license is recognized across state lines and with an NP; you may not be able to prescribe drugs in all states. Each state issues their licenses and can make the guidelines for licensure, so you may be required to get a separate license for each state in which you'd want to practice.
While the nurse practitioner wages are less than a doctor, some of the stress level can also be less than a doctor both legally and in the day to day scheduling. A NP may not be on call in a rotation and can possibly work fewer hours. (S)he could move from one hospital or office to another given that the nursing field is always looking for more qualified individuals. Now, there is also the option for working in a retail clinic. Clinic work may be something to consider because with the trends as they are going, work in retail clinics will be growing as this type of medical access is very popular and should continue to be so. It appears that this profession is one that can expect growth as we get more into this decade.
Nurse practitioner programs provide training at the masters degree level in medicine and in several different specialties like pediatrics and acute care or as a family nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner salary depends somewhat on the environment that (s)he works. Opportunities in hospitals, doctor offices and retail clinics exist for a nurse practitioner. With all of that information, maybe an NP is better than an MD for you.