What do Nurse Practitioners Do?
Nurse practitioners are nurses who continue their education and receive their Doctorate in nursing. They diagnose acute and chronic illnesses and help with disease prevention. Nurse practitioners can do many tasks that physicians can do including order lab work and tests, interpret test results, and prescribe medications.
Nurse Practitioners Skills and Abilities
Nurse practitioners need to be patient and have good interpersonal skills. They work in a clinical atmosphere and spend most of their time seeing patients who need a diagnosis. As a nurse practitioner, you need to be compassionate, yet professional, and make sure you connect with your patients. You also need to be socially perceptive. Often, patients might be leaving out crucial details that you should know about as their care provider. If you aren’t perceptive, you can miss something extremely important pertaining to the health of a patient. You need to be good at active listening and have great critical thinking skills. Patients don’t always know how to properly convey their symptoms. You need to be able to understand what they are trying to tell you and take them seriously. Use your critical thinking skills to put symptoms together, even when they’re seemingly unrelated.
Nurse Practitioners Duties
As a nurse practitioner, you will do a lot of diagnostic work. You have to be able to read, analyze, and understand patient charts and histories. You need to be able to put the history with current issues, diagnose problems, and come up with treatment plans. You will need to order different diagnostic tests such as x-rays, scans, and lab work. You will read and interpret results when they arrive so you can properly diagnose and prescribe medications as needed. You might treat anything from migraines to chronic illnesses. You’ll need to know when to refer patients to specialists such as oncologists or pain management clinics.
Nurse Practitioners Tools and Technology
As a nurse practitioner, you will use a wide variety of different tools. Basically any medical tools that are used in clinics are used by nurse practitioners. You will use basic diagnostic tools such as stethoscopes and thermometers. You could also need to use cardiac monitors, ultrasound machines, and other larger diagnostic tools. As for technology, you will use medical software to keep all of your patient’s medical records updated. You will use e-mail to talk with other physicians and talk to your patients if they need anything. You will also use fax machines to send referrals and receive medical records from other physicians for your patients.
Education and Training Nurse Practitioners
Nurse practitioners need to have a Master’s degree to begin practicing. However, a Master’s will limit the duties that a practitioner can perform. Nurse practitioners can’t diagnose and treat patients on their own unless they have a doctorial degree. Almost 78% of nurse practitioners have a Master’s degree. These nurse practitioners consult with physicians who oversee the diagnosis and write the prescriptions. Another 13% of nurse practitioners have a PhD. These nurse practitioners can do all of the diagnosing and treating on their own.
Nurse Practitioners Salary
Nurse practitioners make an average of $46 per hour in the United States. This equals about $95,300 per year. The states with the highest pay are
- New Jersey
- New York
All of those states pay more than $50 per hour on average and more than $100,000 per year.
Nurse Practitioners Jobs by Geography
The United States has $110,200 nurse practitioners. California has the most nurse practitioners with 9,300. The state with the second most is New York with 9,150. It’s a great time to further your education and become a nurse practitioner, because they have a 33.7% change and expect 37,100 more to begin practicing by 2022.