Nurse Practitioner Career

nurse-practitioner-500Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in one of six population groups: family, adult-gerontology, neonatal, pediatrics, women’s health/gender, and psychiatric-mental health. They are trained either to provide primary care services or acute care services.

Primary care nurse practitioners work much like the primary care physician in diagnosing illnesses, conducting examinations, prescribing medication and providing referrals. The role of the acute care nurse practitioner is the treatment, monitoring and management of patients with acute and chronic illnesses and diseases.

Nurse Practitioner Career Snapshot

Nurse practitioners work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, nurse-managed health centers, convenient-care clinics, primary care clinics and other community health centers and clinics. They also provide services in schools, home health care services, hospice centers, assisted living facilities, tel-emergency–a distance emergency service, and private practice.

Further details on a career as a nurse practitioner are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average pay for nurse practitioners per year.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Master’s degree while 7% have a Doctoral degree.

Nurse Practitioner Education

A registered nurse with a BSN can become a nurse practitioner by completing a graduate degree at the master’s (MSN) or doctoral level (DNP) with nurse practitioner specialization, and then passing a nurse practitioner certification examination. The graduate must then obtain state licensure in order to practice.

Nurse Practitioner Job Duties

Job duties include examining medical histories, conducting physical examinations, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests and procedures, diagnosing and treating acute and chronic illnesses, prescribing medications and referring patients to other health professionals when needed. They also educate patients on illness prevention and health maintenance, and on self-care management of chronic illnesses.

Nurse Practitioner Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median yearly salary of nurse practitioners in May 2015 was $98,190. The top ten percent earned more than $171,560, and the bottom ten percent earned less than $71,530. Salaries are generally higher in the east and west coasts and in Alaska and Hawaii, and lower in the southern states.

Nurse Practitioner Job Outlook

The job outlook for nurse practitioners is 31 percent between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than average. The shortage of primary care physicians and the increased demand for services caused by the Affordable Care Act have created a pressing need for nurse practitioners. The large number of nurses who will be retiring in the coming years also adds to the shortage.

Nurse Practitioner Skills & Traits

Nurse Practitioners Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Nurse Practitioners:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Learning
• Active Listening
• Critical Thinking
• Reading Comprehension
• Social Perceptiveness
• Oral Comprehension
• Deductive Reasoning
• Inductive Reasoning
• Oral Expression
• Problem Sensitivity
• Cardiac pacemaker generator
• Electrocardiography EKG units
• Eye charts
• Medical suction
• Surgical lasers
• Caring for others
• Getting information
• Recording information
• Using relevant knowledge
• Decision making

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