Professionals who are interested in nurse practitioner jobs are those who are highly educated with advanced degrees, but for a variety of reasons do not want to go to the expense and years of training required to become a doctor.
The role works directly with patients and performs many of the same duties of a physician. The NP will take patients’ health history, examine them, order lab tests, analyze the results, and prescribe a diagnosis and treatment, just like a doctor. As a nurse practitioner, they can also get jobs that are focused on research if they choose.
Why are NPs in such high demand? In a hospital setting, they are invaluable, as they can alleviate the need for doctors to spend long periods of time making rounds and checking on patients during recovery. They work very closely with attending physicians in a hospital to understand what course of treatment the doctor prefers, and can evaluate the progress that a patient is making during their hospital stay. They can also determine if there is a problem along the way and make the necessary calls on immediate treatment when the doctor is not available.
In a private practice, many doctors who are partners are finding that it is more difficult to find qualified young physicians who want to commit to joining them. There are also financial challenges in family practices, and while a nurse practitioner can hold jobs that pay salaries anywhere from $65,000 to over $100,000, they typically do not have a partnership position in the practice. So it is more cost effective to hire an NP to perform basic wellness duties, and then the doctor can see fewer patients or only those patients with acute or chronic health issues.
The most rewarding part of becoming an NP is that they are licensed and qualified to make their own decisions on a course of treatment for patients. While they may work in a team with doctors, they can use their own judgment in determining a diagnosis, and many doctors rely heavily on their expertise to help offset the workload, or just as another opinion. The practice scope of a nurse practitioner varies state to state. For more information on the limitations of NP practice authority, check out this blog post about full practice authority.
For a qualified nurse practitioner, jobs are in abundance with a very low unemployment rate. The opportunities exist throughout the country for both full time positions as well as part-time locum tenens opportunities. So regardless of where they live, they have little trouble finding a position. They can also choose which area of healthcare they would like to focus on, as there is a shortage of NPs in hospitals, private practices, clinics, and adult care centers. Even childcare facilities and schools require a licensed professional to treat minor injuries and dispense medications. So the field is wide open for these professionals, and they can find a rewarding career wherever they choose to go.