Steps on How to Become a Nurse Practitioner
The medical field is often associated with white coats, busy hallways, the sound of machines trying to save lives and healthcare workers working tirelessly.
According to the data, healthcare is one of the most promising career fields in the US as of the year 2020.
It is popular enough to have multiple television series dedicated to showcasing what the medical field looks like from the perspective of the people that comprise its backbone.
At the beginning of the year 2020, the medical field became even more prominent.
As dramatic and eventful as it is on T.V., health professionals in real life became the protagonists who battle with an unseen and life-threatening enemy.
As early as January 30, 2020, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) proclaimed the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
COVID 19 was known to be more deadly than influenza regardless of age. This moment gave birth to the new normal and the clash between people saving lives and exhaustion.
The Profession: What is a nurse practitioner?
The beauty of nursing
Focusing the spotlight on one of the most well-known careers in the medical field, being a nursing practitioner.
Their main duty is to administer comprehensive care to their patients, even without the control and instruction of a physician.
Nursing practitioners have licensed clinicians who are accountable for a wide range of medical services. However, these responsibilities are dependent on their chosen area of specificity in the field.
Some tasks that they carry out involve giving health advice to patients on how to take care of themselves, accommodate patients for primary and emergency care, operating diagnostic tests such as CT scans and X-rays and many more.
Before being able to perform these duties, there are prior steps on how someone can achieve this profession. As stated earlier, it will be a difficult path but it is very rewarding in the end.
To pursue this career, there are various licenses and academic credentials that an aspirant should have.
Unlike other professions, this will require them to have a long time studying and training to become a nursing practitioner.
The journey might look easy when portrayed in dramas but it is a rollercoaster of upsurges and downfalls that are all worthwhile.
The Journey: How to become a nursing practitioner?
Learning as a process
Just like any other profession, the first step in accomplishing the prerequisites and prior requirements needed to be a nursing practitioner is acquiring a bachelor’s degree.
To be specific, the bachelor’s degree to be taken is BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing).
Aspiring nursing practitioners are also provided different ways on how to earn this degree.
- One way is through direct entry which is applicable for high school diploma holders who do not have any degree yet. This takes up to four (4) years to complete.
- Another one is the registered nurse to BSN method which is suited for an associate degree holder in the registered nurses’ field. The year of completion is dependent on the school they are going to enroll in and credits that can be handed over. This path usually lasts for one (1) to two (2) years in completion.
- The third method that can be used in earning a degree in nursing is the licensed practical nurse to BSN process that is two (2) to three (3) years to complete.
- Last on the list is the accelerated BSN which is suitable for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in a different field. Depending on the school and the transferable credits, this usually takes about a year to a year and seven (7) months to be accomplished.
This specific step is just a requirement in obtaining a license to become a registered nurse, which is also needed to become a nursing practitioner.
Being a registered nurse strengthens someone’s foundation and personal knowledge about the profession. Also, gaining firsthand experience in the field is highly encouraged.
The actual application of gained knowledge from books and lectures is very helpful in honing the practical skills of a person who wants to become a nursing practitioner.
If an aspiring nursing practitioner’s life is a drama or series just like in Grey’s Anatomy, getting a bachelor’s degree is not even half of the whole duration of the show yet.
After years of working to become a registered nurse, it is a must to have a graduate degree next.
To pursue this specific profession, one must work hard for another two (2) to four (4) years learning and establishing vital abilities in the profession.
These are the possible programs that will equip aspiring nursing practitioners with the needed knowledge and the graduate degree.
- Master of Science in Nursing helps nursing students gain essential skills that can be further used in the field while learning and doing coursework. Students can choose from a variety of specializations such as midwifery, orthopedics and psychiatric nurse practitioner.
- Doctor of Nursing Practice-Family Nurse Practitioner is usually linked with leadership in healthcare organizations and earning this degree gives students the role previously done by physicians upon completion.
All those years of hard work come down to the final step to becoming a certified nurse practitioner and that is to take the national certification exam.
This is a make-or-break moment. In the United States, there are a total of five (5) national certification boards for nursing practitioners namely:
- American Nurses Credentialing Center
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board
- The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
- The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
- The National Certification Corporation
Everybody has their own story. Always keep in mind that those people who are in white coats, strutting the busy hallways saving lives used to be those tireless med or nursing students who endured during their early days.
Being a nurse practitioner includes what seems to be an unending path, but just like a drama series, it will certainly come to an end.
However, being a certified nurse practitioner might only end season 1 of someone’s journey. Battling as a CNP in the medical field will be season 2 and beyond.
Being a healthcare professional is both challenging and rewarding. Medical professionals can add length to someone’s life by simply doing their job.
This is one of the reasons why a lot of people are slowly getting attracted and interested in entering the medical field. It might be a long and arduous path but there are steps to guide you.
Carlton, G. (2020). Types Of Masters Degrees In Nursing. Retrieved from https://nursejournal.org/degrees/msn/
CollegeXpress. (2021). The Top 10 Career Fields in America. Retrieved from https://www.collegexpress.com/articles-and-advice/
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree Overview. (n.d.). Nurse Journal. Retrieved from https://nursejournal.org/degrees/dnp/
Drake, J. (2020). How Deadly Is Covid-19?. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/johndrake/
FAQ: What are the different APRN certification options for NPs, CNSs, CNMs, and CRNAs?. (n.d.). Online FNP Programs. Retrieved from https://www.onlinefnpprograms.com/faqs/