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What are the best steps to becoming a nurse practitioner?

I've been thinking about furthering my medical field career.

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Nailya’s Answer

Anthony, the best way to become a good nurse practitioner is to practice as a nurse first. You need to give yourself at least few years in nursing, so you could understand what you want to do in the future, such as pediatric NP, adult care NP, acute care NP, etc. You will also learn how to take care of patients , how to communicate with patients, you will learn nursing and medical care routines. Please remember that there is no residency for nurse practitioners in many states, so it is best and in your own interest if you gain an experience before enrolling to an NP program
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Christina’s Answer

Hi Anthony,
I just retired from a long career as an NP in both Internal Medicine and Cardiology. It's a great profession. It's challenging, interesting with constant professional growth, and has the potential for good life/work balance.

Steps:
1. I recommend getting your BS in Nursing first then working for awhile to get experience in multiple fields of medicine to see what specialty excites you.
Working as an RN will help you learn how to manage people with serious illness or injury before you become the one directing care as a provider/NP. I started in the ICU/CCU which gave me a broad perspective and taught me how to recognize people who were seriously ill. The Emergency Department would be a good starting point too. (I wouldn't recommend either for a career because neither gives you the rewarding, long term relationships you get when working in a medical practice where patients return for follow-up on your treatment recommendations.)

2. After you have worked as a Nurse for 3-5 years, then research NP programs. I don't agree with the strategy of the combined BS/MS NP programs. Those programs generally don't give you enough clinical experience or exposure to know which direction you want to go with your career or experience working with people who are seriously ill.

I agree with all the other statements above.

Good luck! You will love it.

Christina
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Mary Beth’s Answer

Become an RN first and gets some experience, don’t just rush into becoming an NP. You are young and need some.life experience in being a nurse to help you decide if becoming an NP is really what you want to pursue. Times are changing quickly, as are laws and regulations you must follow in being a nurse practitioner. Investigate schools, ask questions, ask to connect with alums from each school and seek their input. Every school is different, with its own culture and kinds of professors. Find out it graduation rate and success afterwards.

Remember, there is NO rush. So take your time in developing your skill set, knowledge base, and know yourself and what kind of nurse you want to become. There are far too many out there now who only went into nursing because it pays well today, and sadly it is showing in the decline in quality care and patient safety seen. Be the best you can be, for yourself and for those you care for in the future.

Never stop dreaming or reaching for the stars…

Mary Beth recommends the following next steps:

Perhaps find an NP who is willing to have you shadow them for a day or two…or at least interview them.
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Nicole’s Answer

1.) Complete high school
2.) Apply to college (one that has an RN and NP program)
3.) Complete your RN degree and bridge to the NP program (if this is still an option) - do your research beforehand.

Pointers:
1.) Research the type of NP you want to be - there are several options. If you can meet and talk to anyone in your desired field before you choose, it can help you make the right decision for you. Ask questions such as, " can you tell me what a typical work day looks like for you?" Also, "are you happy doing what you do everyday?"
2.) Research funding sources for school - there are a lot of grants available to nursing students.
3.) Prepare to commit to working hard - It is a rewarding career, put you have to put in the work!


Hope this helps!
Blessings to you,
Nicole
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