Nurse practitioners are primary care providers for many patients, but they also have specializations in specific fields including psychiatric health, pediatric care, and geriatric care. They evaluate patients, order medical tests, diagnose patients, and have the authority to prescribe medications. These nurses are also sometimes known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).
APRNs need to obtain a graduate degree, license, and certification in order to practice in their field. Individuals considering a medical career will find there are many great reasons to become a nurse practitioner. Here are a few of them.
They Make a Difference
APRNs perform many of the same duties medical doctors do. They work in medical offices and clinics, and see the same patients throughout their lives, providing long-term care in the community health field. They may also work in hospitals and treat people needing emergency care. An APRN ensures their patients receive an early and correct diagnosis so that they receive immediate treatment for their condition. For many individuals, an APRN is even their primary care provider. For others, nurse practitioners and provide specialized care that can improve their quality of life. Being a nurse during COVID-19 especially has shined an even brighter light on the selflessness, compassion, and empathy these nurses exude on a daily basis
They Have Flexible Education Options
Individuals interested in a career as an APRN have a lot of academic flexibility. They can opt to complete their bachelor’s degree through online nursing degree programs, enabling them to balance their academic demands against jobs and family obligations. They can also opt to continue their education after attaining a bachelor’s degree by entering the field as a registered nurse to get work experience while studying in a master’s program. This can help reduce student loan debt. Some employers will pay for registered nurses to complete their training to become an APRN. They may also qualify for a scholarship or financial aid. Studying through an online BSN program also allows nurses to work to cover the costs of their tuition, manage their start date for studies, and obtain a nursing diploma or associate’s degree before completing bachelor’s and graduate-level studies.
They are In Demand
There is an extremely high demand for qualified APRNs throughout the healthcare system. And as the world’s population ages, this demand is expected to increase. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates the job growth rate for nurses is projected to be 35% by 2028, which is several times the average growth rate for other occupations. This means individuals who complete their qualifications to become an APRN will be able to find work after they graduate and will enjoy strong job security. The demand is so strong that employers have evaluated how to secure nurse practitioners for openings in their communities. Nurses with a baccalaureate and master’s degree will be able to pursue promotions or continue taking classes to earn a doctoral degree. Distance learners may also appeal to employers because they have demonstrated the ability to work independently while completing online coursework, indicating they are ready to assume leadership positions.
They Earn Good Salaries
As of January 2020, Salary.com reported that nurse practitioners enjoyed median annual incomes of $108,639. Those in the top 10% of the pay spectrum earned over $126,000 per year, while those in the lowest 10% of the pay range took home less than $93,000 per year. According to the BLS, APRNs enjoyed the highest salaries in California, Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. This demonstrates that high-paying opportunities for APRNs can be found throughout the country. Salary.com reported median annual incomes of $63,190 for registered nurses as of January 2020, demonstrating that APRNs could expect to earn as much as $45,000 per year more than registered nurses.
They Have a Portable Career
Nurse practitioners can work in rural and urban centers and are usually required to have national certification before entering the field. These APRNs will then have most of the credentials needed to move from state to state, allowing them ease of transfer and an abundance of job opportunities. Individuals who hope to stay where they grew up or to move to a specific location will benefit from the portability of this career. The BLS also reported that California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Ohio employed the highest numbers of APRNs, demonstrating a strong demand throughout the US.