The path towards achieving the Nurse Practitioner’s designation includes a specific academic path and professional certifications. The designation basically allows them to enter into an advanced practice of nursing, which allows them to perform examinations, make diagnosis of a patients symptoms, do minor surgical procedures, do diagnostic tests and prescribe medications under the administration of a licensed physician.
There are several specific requirements, which must be completed in order to become an LNP. This includes:
· Obtaining a bachelors degree in nursing from an accredited institution (BSN)
· Passing the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and satisfying your state certifications requirements and becoming an RN.
· Obtaining 1 to 2 years of experience as an RN in a hospital or clinical setting.
· Choosing a specialty within your nursing profession (like pediatrics, women's health, gerontology etc…) and working for 1-2 years within that specialty.
· Completing a masters program in Nursing. This normally can take one to three years. But there are also BSN to Masters programs for individuals who have a bachelors, but have not majored in nursing, which could be a faster track.
· Complete the nursing practitioners certification exam.
· Complete the required number of certification work hour requirements within your specialty, which can take 750 to 1400 hours
Each specialty and program can vary, but all together in can add up with all the education and work experience requirements, around 6 to 8 years to become a licensed and certified Nurse Practitioner.
Paul recommends the following next steps:
- See a college academic advisor and research the various nursing programs (both bachelors and Masters), which might be in your region and meet the requirements to become an RN and obtain a Masters degree in the nursing field
- Research a nursing specialty which peaks your interest and fits well within your career strengths and skills.
- Research your state's requirements for licensing of nurses and Nurse Practitioners. See how these requirements can fit into your academic and career path.
- Visit a college career center and research the LNP. See if you can speak with an LNP and examine their academic path towards achieving this designation.