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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.

  • 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
  • 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

Average Years of Experience

0 - 1
32%
2 - 4
37%
5 - 7
1%
8+
30%

Common Skill Sets

Excellent Communication
Computer Literacy
HIPAA
Outlook
Written Communication
ANCC
DNP
Diagnosis

Nurse Practitioner Salaries

Average Base Pay

$110,076 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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$96K
Median: $110K
$130K
See More Insights
Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Nurse Practitioner Jobs