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How to become a nurse practitioner

I want to become a nurse practitioner what is the fasting way to do that?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Pete’s Answer

You’ve gotten some solid answers so far. The only thing I will add is if you’re looking for the quickest route to being a provider you should consider PA school. PA school is three years long and I don’t believe you can become an NP in that short a time period.

Depending on where you want to work (hospital vs. clinic) and what specialty you’re interested in (surgery, primary care, ICU…etc) there are very few differences between the role of an NP vs a PA. Both are providers, meaning they diagnose and treat illness through a variety of methods, including prescribing medications, ordering labs/tests/scans, writing nursing orders and performing procedures.

One big difference is that in most states NPs are independent providers, whereas PAs need to work under the supervision of a physician. Another difference is in the type of training you receive. PAs are trained in the allopathic, physician model of medicine, they often have classes with medical students and so their training is very much focused on the disease process. NPs are trained first as nurses and while we do get a fair amount of scientific, disease-based training, the nursing approach to care is much more holistic and person-focused.

Ultimately if you decide that becoming an NP is what you want, I would encourage you to embrace nursing by working as a bedside nurse for a few years before going to NP school. The experience you get will be invaluable and will inform how you practice as a provider:
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Dr. Colette Forde’s Answer

There are two main pathways to becoming an NP. The more traditional route is to become a nurse first with a BSN, get clinical experience in the area you are interested in, and then apply to a graduate program, attending full-time or part-time. Once you graduate, you have to study and sit for your board exam in the NP speciality you have chosen. Keep in mind, many of the prestigious schools of nursing now require a GPA of 3.8 or 4.0 to enter their Masters' program. The national standard for NPs is moving closer to requiring a DNP to practice, hence many accelerated programs are focused on DNP tracks.

A second option is to attend school as a direct entry student in an accelerated BSN program, and then choosing an accelerated DNP program, choosing an NP track. After graduation, you will still need to study for, and sit your Board exams.

I am interested in your need to find the fastest way. Is the fastest way the best way for you ? Once you begin to practice as an NP, you are legally responsible for the care you provide, for the work you delegate to others on the team, etc., In an accelerated program, attending school full-time, the only clinical experience you will get is what you are exposed to when you are in your clinical semester. Some hospitals do offer a residency program for NPs and I would recommend looking for this opportunity in your first job.

Once you graduate, you are held to the ethical standards set by the American Nurses Association (ANA) - outlined in their code of ethics, practicing according to the rules of the Board of Nursing in your state, and those of your nursing professional organization. Nursing is a profession and is much more than a job. You will hold the life of a patient in your hands so it's important to really work through the best route for you and what you will be able to accomplish in school in order to practice safely as an NP when you graduate. Each individual is different and many direct entry NPs graduate, pass their boards and are successful in their first job.

Follow your heart and dreams. If you are prepared to put in the work, you will achieve your goals and enter a career where you will be happy and fulfilled.


Dr. Colette Forde recommends the following next steps:

1. Research the options available to you - you need to look at the academic standards you need to maintain
2. Decide how you will support yourself financially if you attend school full-time
3. Network - start with AANP, American Association of NPs, ask if you can attend a local chapter meeting
4. Map out a plan as to how you will graduate in an accelerated program
5. Always have a plan B, no matter what option you choose
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Dr. Lexi’s Answer

Hi Nabilatou!
Great question. Thank you for posting it here.
Before we even talk about the fastest way to become a Nurse Practitioner, I'd like to find out a bit more from you so that I provide you with more information. Here goes!
1. What are you passionate about?
2. Which issue (s) drive you to want to do something about it and why?
3. What are your reasons for inquiring about becoming a nurse practitioner?
4. What are your 2nd and 3rd options for a career?
5. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? What is your vision?

I ask these questions because they are important as you make decisions about your future.
Hope to hear back from you!
NP Lexi
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Bailey’s Answer

Best advice I have is to look up the basic requirements for each school you are willing to apply to.

Bailey recommends the following next steps:

Complete prerequisites for nursing school
Complete ADN program
Complete BSN
Start working as a RN (most NP programs want at least 1-2 years of bedside nursing, complete your research)
Apply and complete master NP program
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