If you are already an RN and want to be able to give more to your patients, a nurse practitioner program online might be the answer. Moving up from being an RN to a nurse practitioner can give you the opportunity to be more involved in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. NPs have advanced training that allows them to be even more involved in patient care and decision making than an RN or LVN.
A nurse practitioner will sometimes work in a clinic without a doctor’s supervision while other NPs work with a doctor as kind of joint health care team for patients. A nurse practitioner degree usually requires at least a master’s degree and specialized training in one of several areas. These areas include cardiology, emergency, family practice, geriatrics, neonatology, nephrology, oncology, pediatrics, primary care, school health, and women’s health. The licensing varies by state but also includes a certification exam by one of several nursing organizations.
To find the right program for you, starting with practitioner programs guides is a good idea. The guides can help you learn which programs and nursing organization exams are required for certification in your particular state. The guides can tell you about practitioner program offered such as those specializing in acute care, family nursing, pediatrics, and women’s health care.
There are a variety of online programs offered by various colleges and universities and finding the right nurse practitioner online program requires that you know what is required for your state’s certification. While each state is different, there are some similarities, such as completing a master’s level education program, continuing to develop hands-on clinical knowledge, and examinations which prove competence. NPs usually also have to participate in continuing education even after they are certified so that they can retain their certification at each renewal.
One specialized area that appeals to many RNs is the family nurse practitioner. The FNP works independently and can prescribe medications and generally fills the role of the doctor called the general practitioner or the family practitioner. The FNP works with the family as a whole and usually work in a clinic rather than a hospital setting. Many FNPs work in rural areas where there is a shortage of family practice doctors and the fill a vital role in their communities. The family nurse practitioner treats the entire family through the entire lifetime.
A nurse practitioner program online can be a great way to move from being an RN to taking on more responsibility. If you are considering an online nursing program, be sure to know what the education and examination requirements are for your particular state. The time invested in continuing your education can provide you with the opportunity to become much more involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patients in an autonomous way. The NP can be a vital member of the healthcare team, especially in rural areas where there is a shortage of family practice doctors.