The healthcare system has evolved from a physician-dominated field to a more flexible place that accommodates multiple roles. Nurses are crucial in delivering primary and acute care for patients with various health needs. They are directly involved in improving patient outcomes, and their actions also affect other healthcare professionals.
Regardless of your career path, your expertise is needed within and beyond the work environment to improve the patient’s quality of life. One of the most popular reasons to become a nurse practitioner is to be a part of more people’s lives. While administering treatment to the sick, you may form a deep bond with them.
Are you considering a career in nursing, or are you already in the field but haven’t found a purpose? Here are a few reasons you should become a nurse practitioner.
Collaboration vs. independence
Most professions require you to apply for jobs and work as an employee. With nursing, you can choose to be independent. A nursing practitioner can treat patients with or without the collaboration of a doctor, except in very severe cases. More than 70% of family nurse practitioners work in primary care, and they can work in various settings with different levels of collaboration. They can also expand their scope to research administration, teaching and healthcare.
As an FNP, you can combine nursing and primary care, which may include diagnostic authority depending on your location. If you are searching for a job that allows for a wider scope of practice, the nursing field is the answer.
The healthcare field has evolved dramatically in the past few decades, and it continues to grow in new and exciting ways. Before considering a career path, it is useful to understand the job outlook. Due to physician shortages across the globe, the demand for nurses is expected to remain high. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nurse practitioners will see a 52% increase in demand by 2030.
Nursing practitioners are needed to fill primary and acute care physician shortages. Not only are they needed in rural and urban patient populations, but their services are also indispensable in the mainstream healthcare environment. If you are already a nurse, earning an advanced degree ensures that you are paid better and are more valued in the industry.
Working with autonomy
Another benefit of becoming a nurse practitioner is having greater autonomy over your professional practice. With an additional Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP) degree from a reputable institution such as Walsh University, you can prepare for advanced practice by studying a fully online course that you can fit around your current work schedule.
Most states allow you to practice independently given the shortages of doctors and the ever-increasing need for primary care. Rural areas also need competent practitioners such as nurses, and the available experts are taking advantage of this demand to move to those places. After settling there, they manage independent clinics to meet demands and invite other healthcare professionals to join them when necessary.
The job is exciting
Working as a pediatric nurse means you will attend to children of all ages during your shift. Many children end up forming such a bond with their nurses that they miss them when they are discharged. This can also be true of adult patients.
As a nurse practitioner, you encounter new challenges on every shift. Each day at work comes with its challenges, and there’s a relief that comes with overcoming them. The more problems you solve, the more you will progress in your career and be motivated to do what you love doing the most – caring for the sick.
Nurses have hundreds of career paths from which to choose, and you can always switch paths if you want to explore a different specialty. The best part about switching career paths is that you could move from a popular field to a lesser-known one and earn a higher salary. This career fluidity also means that your opportunities extend to other countries as long as you pass the necessary examinations and acquire the relevant licensing. Therefore, the field does not limit you to a specific geographical location.
In addition to enjoying the satisfaction of a job well done, you can also expect to earn a good salary. Many other types of professionals find that their take-home pay can barely sustain them for the month, but because nurse practitioners are in high demand, their pay is very competitive, especially in developed countries.
Practitioners in developing countries can also migrate to countries with a proven record of high nurse salaries. According to the BLS, the annual salary for nurse practitioners is $120,680. This figure varies depending on one’s level of education, specialty, and the market. However, nursing pays well when you work in a country that recognizes your value.
Respect and trust
After a few years of working as a nurse, you’ll realize that hundreds of patients – if not thousands – have been under your care. During this period, they trust your judgment and seek your opinion about their health choices. You cannot afford to betray their trust as many will take your word as gospel. After putting in your best on the job, you’ll get appreciation, respect, admiration, and trust from the patients you encounter.
Steps to becoming a nursing practitioner
If you are excited about earning a competitive salary and making a difference in people’s lives by becoming a nurse, here are the steps you can take to meet your goal.
Be passionate about it
We often overlook the fact that there is more to nursing than generous salaries and recognition. This profession deals with human lives and is therefore delicate. If you are motivated to become a nurse because you think it is the shortest way out of poverty, this career isn’t for you.
Earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree
The first step to becoming a nurse practitioner is becoming a registered nurse. You can achieve this by enrolling in either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree program in nursing. Nurses with an associate’s degree can enroll in RN-BSN programs, many of which can be completed online for convenience and flexibility.
Gain nursing experience
You can skip the experience stage after getting your first degree, but it is not advisable. Experience helps you learn on the job and practice all that you learned in your studies. It also starts you off on the right foot for your graduate program. Getting a few years of experience working in the field is ideal before enrolling in a graduate program.
Enroll in a graduate program
The fastest way to ascend the ladder in your profession is to upgrade your degree to a master’s or doctorate that gives you more opportunities for promotion as a nurse. Some institutions offer master’s and doctorate programs online, which means you do not have to attend physical classes to get certified. You can enroll in these programs while working in the field to gain the needed experience.
Earn your advanced practice nursing licensure in practical nursing
Individual states set their own standards for nursing practice licensure. This means you must learn about the requirements for becoming a nursing practitioner in any state in which you intend to work. However, most states have similar requirements.
Get your first job
If you skipped the nursing experience level after your first degree, you will be ready for your first job after completing your graduate studies, although some nurses prefer to work while gaining additional degrees. After graduation, you will want to start applying for jobs in your field as a nurse practitioner. Check for healthcare facilities in your area or in places where you wish to live and start applying. Be sure to customize your resume to match the key qualifications for each job you apply for.
Devoting your career to caring for sick people is very rewarding, and the benefits are significant. From working independently to earning a competitive salary and being exposed to multiple opportunities, there is a lot to gain from becoming a nurse practitioner. If you have yet to decide on a career path, nursing is a good sector to consider.