Are you deciding whether to transition from a Registered Nurse (RN) to a Nurse Practitioner (NP)? You should be aware of what this kind of nursing career advancement looks like. From extra degrees and job pay to higher demand, here’s a quick guide to help you decide whether becoming an NP is right for you.
Responsibilities and Environment
First, a nurse practitioner is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). When advancing from RN to NP, there are definite variations in role responsibilities. The ability to prescribe medications is one of the most often cited differences, but that’s not all the role is. An NP will work directly with patients to develop diagnoses and treatment plans.
Common Nurse Practitioners Tasks:
• Order, conduct, and interpret various diagnostic tests (x-rays, EKGs, and lab work included).
• Diagnose and treat chronic as well as acute injuries, infections, and illnesses.
• Provide prescriptions for medications (dosage and frequency), as well as guidance on side effects, interactions, etc.
• Examine past medical histories and record patient symptoms and diagnoses.
• Create treatment plans and make recommendations for patient care.
• Counsel patients on healthy lifestyle changes as well as disease, illness, and injury prevention methods.
While NP certification requires more clinical practice, the role also offers more autonomy. Both permanent and travel NP professionals can meet with patients independently. Nurse practitioners can work alongside physicians; however, they are often the primary care provider for many patients. Transitioning from RN to NP is the ideal career move for someone who seeks out more responsibility and face-to-face patient care.
Another benefit of becoming a nurse practitioner is the ability to define better schedules. As someone who transitions from travel RN to travel NP, you can not only pick and choose your schedule, you could also travel across the country to work in facilities that match your skills.
Education and Licensing
One of the most important aspects to consider when transitioning to an NP is education. If you struggle as a student, this may not be the best move for you. To become a nurse practitioner, you will need a master’s degree at minimum. Nurses will hold an RN license, followed by a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and finally, a Master of Nursing (MSN) to become an advanced practice nurse. There are, however, RN-to-MSN and ADN-to-MSN (associates to masters) programs available at universities across the US. NP schools should be accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
After receiving an MSN, a travel nurse practitioner will then need to acquire an advanced practice nursing licensure. Exam and certification requirements vary from state to state. Both the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC) offer nationally-recognized certification programs. NP’s must renew their certification every five years by participating in continuing education courses (CEUs) and having a minimum of 1000 hours of clinical practice since their latest renewal.
Pay and Demand
Because nurse practitioners receive more schooling, clinical training, and advanced certification, working as a travel NP will grant you a higher salary than that of a travel RN. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2018 report, the median annual salary for a nurse practitioner is over $107,000.
Even better is that the job market for NPs is growing – and growing fast. As reported by SmartAsset, Nurse practitioners “tied for sixth as one of the fastest-growing jobs for women of all ages [and] ranks as the second-fastest-growing job for young professionals.” With NPs able to perform many of the services previously provided only by doctors, and the growing availability to become educated in multiple specialties, demand for permanent and travel NPs continues to grow rapidly.
Transitioning from an RN to an NP is not a decision to be taken lightly, but if you do make the leap, the role will allow you to take on more responsibility and give yourself more job options in the future. If you’re up for the challenge of becoming a nurse practitioner, you will see the rewards with more pay, job opportunities, responsibility, and autonomy! Ready to learn more about how CoreMedical Group can help you find RN and NP positions around the U.S? Contact us today!