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What are the advices to become a nurse practitioner?

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PRASANJIT’s Answer

To become a nurse practitioner you have to follow below 5 steps:

1) First earn a Master's in Nursing
2)Get Your Nursing License
3) Gain Experience in the Field
4) Obtain a Nurse Practitioner Certificate
5) Secure APRN Licensure.
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Jennifer’s Answer

A nurse practioner has a Masters or a Doctorate of Nursing. Right now (2022) the difference is that with a masters degree you can practice in a clinical setting like a hospital, a doctor's office, teach as a clinical instructor (as opposed to being a professor who teaches in a classroom), or open your own business depending on the laws where you work.

Generally most people with a doctorate get the degree to become a professor or do research, although there is a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, which is considered to be a clinical doctorate. For decades there has been a debate that all nurse practitioners should have doctorates, although that doesn't seem to be happening any time soon.

I have a Masters in Nursing Science - it took 7 years of college. I first got a Bachelors of Nursing Science, worked in a hospital for many years, then spent 3 more years in school to get my MSN. I was able to work all the way through, but it was very hard and I needed lots of love and support from my family to get through school. But! There are many ways to build up to becoming an NP.

It is such a big commitment of time and money that I think it's worth taking your time exploring the field before committing to a degree. As you advance toward the graduate degree you have to decide on an area of specialty (midwife, pediatrics, family practice, etc.) but once you have the degree you can go back to school to get a certifications to work with another patient population. I started out thinking that I wanted to be a midwife but as I learned what nursing is like I realized that I wanted to work with the very sickest patients, so now I work in critical care, generally with elderly people - I manage ventilators, prescribe medications, and help people make major life decisions like if they want to start dialysis or even stop medical care so they can die in the best way possible.

If we weren't still in a pandemic I would say start out volunteering so you can see if the job is actually interesting. The next easiest thing to do is become a certified nursing assistant. CNAs have a license and do one of the very core things in nursing, which is to physically take care of patients. The next level up after that would be to become a licensed practical nurse. LPNs are not registered nurses. They are supervised by RNs and can supervise CNAs. It is not as easy to get a job as an LPN these days, so it may make more sense to become a RN by getting either an associates degree or a bachelor's degree. Many people get the associates degree, start their career, and use one of the many many available programs to go from RN to BSN. Many hospitals now require their nurses to have a BSN or agree to get the bachelor's within a couple of years.

Then I would recommend practicing for a few years before going on to a graduate degree. No Nursing experience is ever wasted! The more I do the better nurse I become, even after doing this for years.

Once you decide what kind of NP you want to be you:

- finish your BSN.
-apply to and finish graduate school, maybe having to take a GRE or other graduate test first (not all schools require entrance exams).
-pass one of the national tests to become certified as a nurse practitioner (I am a board-certified adult/geriatric acute care nurse practitioner or AGACNP-BC).
-apply for a license in the state where you will be working.
-apply for prescription privileges through the state. If you want to prescribe opiods or other restricted drugs you also have to apply for a license number through the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
-apply for jobs that are within your scope of practice and fit the patient population that you studied in school.
-if you happen to want to work in a hospital, apply to get practice privileges. This will likely take months.
-start working and save the world.

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