Nurse Practitioner Career Profile

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses. They can act as primary care providers in general practice, pediatrics, and adult practice. They act as traditional nurses, but can also perform medical procedures and prescribe and administer medication. They also act in an advisory capacity for patients.

The work environment

Nurse practitioners are highly trained nurses. For their qualifications, they require Masters Degrees. They fit into the basic Registered Nurse classification, but usually have advanced qualifications and in many cases specializations. This level of flexibility in their services makes advanced practice nurses a very valuable asset in practically all health care scenarios. They can provide a good level of important health services which can be invaluable in an overtaxed hospital or other community health facility. Nurse practitioners also work across a large range of specialist areas of health care, including acute care, women's health, mental health and other areas.

As advanced practice nurses, they naturally received delegated responsibilities as well as senior nurse roles. They may act as supervisors, trainers, and managers at various levels. The nurse practitioner's position may include organization-specific roles as part of the job design.

In many important areas of social health care, nurses are the main operators of facilities. The flexible nature of the nurse practitioner's skill set fills many important niches in the volatile, demand-driven health care market. Primary health care is a particular area of high demand in many under serviced social situations. Nurse practitioners have the ability to provide a very broad range of services which may not otherwise be available in many areas, particularly remote areas and underprivileged areas where access to health care is minimal or based on social security.

Salaries: Tend to be in the upper scales of Registered Nurse salaries due to qualifications.

Hours: Variable, may be clinic hours or shift hours depending on the position.

The career environment

The very diverse set of work environments is also a significant factor in nursing practitioner career paths. There's a natural specialization in many nursing roles, particularly at advanced levels of care, which can be drivers for further career moves and qualifications.There are a lot of possible factors in career paths for nurses with advanced qualifications, particularly when able to specialize in such a wide range of areas. There are also further options in nursing itself.

The range of options for additional qualifications and senior positions for nurse practitioners in organizations is broad:

  • Management
  • Doctoral studies
  • Own practices
  • Partnerships
  • Home care
  • Elderly care
  • Special care facilities
  • College teaching

This is really a matter of personal preference, but it's set against one of the truly demanding job design schematics in nursing. In the US, nurse practitioners are nationally certified, (state requirements vary) which is another potential factor in career progression and qualifications. There is a high level of job mobility if required, and nurse practitioners may wish to move to particular facilities for both career and job-based reasons. Continuing education is a further career option.

The health care industry is also developing a high demand for nurse practitioners. This class of nurse is one of the fastest growing areas of the profession.