What does a Nurse Practitioner do?

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are a type of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who undergo specialized education and clinical training that allows them to provide advanced care and perform tasks that registered nurses (RNs) are not licensed to do. Nurse practitioners are often specialized in a certain field, such as pediatrics, gerontology, women's health, or mental health. NPs can examine patients, diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication, and treat illnesses, much like physicians do. Their specific responsibilities depend on their specialization and the state in which they practice. NPs may or may not be required to work under the supervision of a physician, depending on the state they work in.

There are different paths to becoming a nurse practitioner. Most aspiring nurse practitioners earn an undergraduate degree in nursing from an accredited program and become an RN first. Then, after getting some experience as an RN, aspiring nurse practitioners must earn a graduate degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Nurse practitioners must also be licensed in the state they practice in and pass a national certification exam.

What responsibilities are common for Nurse Practitioner jobs?
  • Peform physical examinations of patients to evaluate health and diagnose illnesses
  • Order and peform diagnostic tests, such as x-rays and laboratory tests
  • Determine, plan, and initiate appropriate treatment, and adjust treatment if necessary
  • Prescribe and dispense medications
  • Document medical information of patients and maintain electronic medical records
  • Educate, instruct, and counsel patients and families on presenting health problems, treatment plans, and home care, and encourage and promote preventative health care and positive health behaviors
  • Request consultation or referral with other health care providers, such as physicians and clinics
  • Actively maintain knowledge of current medical research and trends, and support research projects
What are the typical qualifications for Nurse Practitioner jobs?
  • Graduate degree from an accredited nursing school, such as a Master of Science in nursing
  • Must have a current license to practice as a nurse practitioner in the state of practice
  • Must have the necessary specialty certification
  • 2-4 years of clinical work experience
  • Must be compassionate and personable
  • Ability to communicate effectively with patients and other medical staff
  • Strong leadership skills, self-confidence, and ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • Excellent analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Exceptional active listening skills
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.4 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.5 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

How much does a Nurse Practitioner make?

$140,577 /yr
Total Pay

Base Pay


Additional Pay


 / yr
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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Nurse Practitioner Career Path

Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Nurse Practitioner
Senior Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Practitioner

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Nurse Practitioner Insights

Read what Nurse Practitioner professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
LifeStance HealthLifeStance Health
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Mar 18, 2023

“I work with a great group of people and having the ability to make my own schedule.”

Chinatown Service CenterChinatown Service Center
Nurse Practitioner
Dec 7, 2022

“Pay is way below what it should be and raises are random and not based on any formula.”

Childbase PartnershipChildbase Partnership
Nursery Practitioner
May 31, 2023

“The pay is the best in this sector and getting the Christmas bonus is amazing too.”

The London ClinicThe London Clinic
Transfusion Practitioner
Apr 1, 2023

“We definitely work as a team and I feel a great sense of belonging here.”

Turning Point ScotlandTurning Point Scotland
Lead Practitioner
Jun 7, 2022

“I work with a great team who all believe in offering the best outcomes for the people we support.”

Options Family & Behavior ServicesOptions Family & Behavior Services
ARMHS Practitioner
Feb 22, 2022

“Great co workers but I unfortunately never talked to them because of the independent nature of the role.”

Excalibur Hotel & CasinoExcalibur Hotel & Casino
On Call
Jun 14, 2021

“Advertised Barista position but instead was told this is a fountain position and that being a barista was something I would barley be doing.”

Self Employed Womens AssociationSelf Employed Womens Association
Emotional Well Being Practitioner
Jan 12, 2021

“Nice people to work with and enjoyable”

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Nurse Practitioner Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of nurse practitioners

Nurse practitioners are deeply involved in patient care. The typical day of a nurse practitioner involves examining patients, prescribing medicine, and creating care plans. Nurse practitioners follow up with patients' medical tests and analyze the results. Nurse practitioners in urgent care settings provide emergency medical support.

Nurse practitioners are always in high demand. It's an intellectually challenging career for individuals who want to make a difference in promoting quality healthcare. A nurse practitioner can be a primary care provider or specialize in a particular medical field. A key factor in nurse practitioner job satisfaction is flexible working hours.

The average salary for a nurse practitioner is around $140,577. Specialized nurse practitioners command larger paychecks, especially nurse practitioners affiliated with reputable hospitals. Salaries also vary depending on whether nurse practitioners hold master's degrees or doctorates. Experience is also a critical factor.

Working as a nurse practitioner can be tough because they aren't always given the same respect as board-certified physicians. Nurse practitioners assigned to the emergency room often work long hours. Still, it's an emotionally rewarding position that gives kind, experienced medical professionals the opportunity to help patients every day.

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