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What do nurse practitioners do, and how can I become one?

Hello, I am a rising junior in high school who is interested in going into the medical field. However, I don't know what I want to be yet. I am currently looking into becoming a NP. medicine nurse nursing medical healthcare

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Komal’s Answer

Nurse Practitioners are known as mid-level providers and what they are able to do varies upon the state they live in. Generally speaking, NPs work as a provider and are able to assess, diagnose and treat patients.

I am an NP and I work in the Cardiology department. I work with doctors who are my collaborative physicians as where I live, you have to have a collaborative agreement, meaning a doctor has to have an agreement to oversee your work. Some states allow NPs to work more autonomously.

In my clinic, I see patients in the outpatient setting, inpatient setting and even in our cardiac stress lab and the pacemaker clinic. Depending on which track you choose, you will be afforded different opportunities and you will gain skills necessary for your speciality.

NPs do not go to medical school. In high school, focus on getting good grades and get into a college/university of your choice and go for your BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing). BSN will take 4 years. After getting your BSN, you will take the NCLEX to become an RN. After this, begin working in a hospital setting and gather, at the very least, one year of experience before going further into your education. There are many people who go straight from a BSN to becoming an NP but I can tell you from experience that the experience you will gather from working after your BSN will be invaluable in obtaining your NP and being a well rounded NP.

After you get some experience as a nurse, you will find out what specialty you may want to work in after you become an NP. To become an NP, you will need to go back to graduate school and get a MSN (Masters of Science in Nursing) but some schools are pushing towards a DNP (Doctors of Nursing Practice) to become an NP. It really depends on where you go to school and eventually, the MSN will be phased out. MSN will take about 2 years and a DNP will be slightly longer. You can also choose the type of NP you want to become.

FNP- Family NP, you will work with both children and adults.
ANP- Adult NP, you will only work with adults
ACNP- Acute care NP, you will work in hospitals and in more acute settings
AGNP- Adult Gerontology NP, you will work with adults/elderly
PMHNP- Psychiatric Mental Health NP, you will work in psych settings, inpatient or outpatient.

You have more fluidity as an NP. You’re never stuck in one spot. Possibilities are pretty endless. Hope this helps a bit!

Thanks, this was super helpful. Athena R.

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Christopher’s Answer

Being a Nurse Practitioner or NP, would be a very exciting career that is in high demand. They are really just one step below being a doctor or MD. They must attend extra schooling beyond that of another medical professional called a Physicians Assistant or PA. Nurse practitioners are even able to prescribe medicine. You can be an NP working with a doctor in an office setting or you can even work along side surgeons in the operating room. A surgical NP helps work with patients in the office and the operating room.
While you are in school you want to focus on biology, science and mathematics.
As with any profession, take every opportunity to ask questions of NP's in your area. Interview them in person or send them an email. They will be very excited to answer questions about why they chose to be an NP and where they went medical school. Their advice will be invaluable.
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Richard’s Answer

Nurse practitioners have a nursing degree followed by a master's to become a nurse practitioner. Typically nurse practitioners work in a clinic performing history & physicals, ordering tests from the lab or imaging, making diagnoses, prescribing treatments which can include medication or invasive procedures, and making referrals to specialists. They work with a physician who can be onsite or who reviews cases remotely.
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Updated Translate

Christopher’s Answer

Being a Nurse Practitioner or NP, would be a very exciting career that is in high demand. They are really just one step below being a doctor or MD. They must attend extra schooling beyond that of another medical professional called a Physicians Assistant or PA. Nurse practitioners are even able to prescribe medicine. You can be an NP working with a doctor in an office setting or you can even work along side surgeons in the operating room. A surgical NP helps work with patients in the office and the operating room.
While you are in school you want to focus on biology, science and mathematics.
As with any profession, take every opportunity to ask questions of NP's in your area. Interview them in person or send them an email. They will be very excited to answer questions about why they chose to be an NP and where they went medical school. Their advice will be invaluable.
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