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What is a nurse practitioner? Why is there a week dedicated to recognizing them? Learn more about the history of nurse practitioners (NPs), how COVID-19 drove the demand for nurse practitioners, how to become an NP, the average salary of an NP, what type of practices NP work at, and the three levels of practice authority of nurse practitioners and their respective states and/or territories.

History of Nurse Practitioners:

Honoring the profession of nurse practitioners right before Thanksgiving, every year, the second week of November is dedicated to nurse practitioners. Why? Because NPs play a critical part in our healthcare delivery model.

This role was started back in the 1960s. In fact, nurse practitioners were brought about because of the high demand for primary healthcare professionals nationwide. It was in 2004 that the U.S. Congress authorized the official Nurse Practitioner Week.

How COVID-19 Drove Demand for More NPs:

Nurses and other healthcare workers have been forced to adapt to new ways to practice how they handle patients since 2020. Why? These changes have come about primarily due to the pandemic (COVID-19). In certain nursing specialties, such as neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), nurse practitioners have had to take new measures to ensure the safety of newborns and their family members. A new approach to how nurses handle the threat of contagious disease was implemented, such as protective gear, visitation, and video visitation instead of face-to-face. These precautions have negatively affected parent-infant bonding, although deemed necessary for the greater good of public health. This is just one example of how the pandemic drove the need for NPs to be more available and flexible in their jobs and positions.

Nurse practitioners have been tested by learning a new way of performing their daily tasks at work. This year we give extra appreciation to those who didn’t give up but adapted and helped prevail in the fight against the pandemic.

The National Certification Corporation (NCC) commends nurse practitioners. The professionals in healthcare who rose to the occasion and overcame a challenging time with perseverance deserve our respect and recognition. Many determined medical professionals did not succumb to challenges but pulled through to meet the public’s needs for community and population health, often against all odds.

What Is A Nurse Practitioner?

What is an NP? NP is an abbreviation for nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner is an RN who has continued their education and graduated in additional clinical training in addition to their RN instruction. 

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner:

How does a nurse become an NP? A registered nurse can become an NP by returning to school and earning a degree such as a Master of Science in nursing, family medicine, or gerontology. There is also a national exam you must pass before you receive your state license as an NP. 

Once licensed, a nurse practitioner can have almost free rein on medicine in many areas of healthcare. Physicians and nurse practitioners can do the same task in many cases. They can order testing to diagnose disease, put on casts, and debride wounds. They perform such tasks while working with a team to put together a treatment plan or for follow-up care if needed. Still, the primary role of a nurse practitioner is usually concentrated on disease prevention and the promotion of a person’s complete well-being. Nurse practitioners may vary in specialties, such as orthopedics, operating room, oncology, gerontology, or even psychiatry

Nurse Practitioners Salary:

How much does a nurse practitioner earn? Depending on where the nurse practitioner works and their specialty, their salary ranges anywhere from $108,749 to $127,318. This nurse practitioner’s salary depends on education, certifications, and experience in their line of healthcare.

Can A Nurse Practitioner Work in Private Practice?

All states may have their requirements, but an NP can run a private practice. In today’s world of healthcare, NPs are taking it like a windstorm, blowing by hospitals doing house calls, wellness clinics, and even private practice operations. In proving themselves as an excellent alternative to hospitals, private practices are popping up throughout the United States. They are essential in assisting the public’s healthcare needs and providing preventative care.

Starting Up Your Practice As An Nurse Practitioner:

To be qualified to run an independent practice – location matters. The requirements to open a private practice are dramatically different depending on the state you’re in. Therefore, researching state law where you plan on opening is crucial. For instance, in some states, a nurse practitioner is prohibited from opening a private practice. For some states, you must have a physician collaborating with your practice to operate, although some states allow you to open up and work independently as an NP. 

Practice Authority Levels For Nurse Practitioners:

There are three classifications of nurse practitioner practice authority for each state, full, reduced, and restricted.

Written by Miranda Booher, RN

SEO Content Marketing Administrator Miranda has been a registered nurse since 2007 and has a healthy background in travel nursing, healthcare IT, and digital marketing. She brings an interesting combination of stellar SEO content management and copywriting skills and first-hand nursing experience to the table. Miranda understands the industry and has an impeccable ability to write about it. And speaking of travel - Miranda currently lives in Bolivia, though she maintains an active Registered Nurse license in the state of Ohio and stays current on the latest healthcare news through her writing. When she is not creating killer copy, or serving others through her work as a nurse, you can find her spending time with her family traveling in the Andes Mountains.

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