Nurse practitioners are quite a sought-after career option considering the growth opportunity and lucrative nature of the field in the healthcare sector. Nurse practitioners have received an advanced level of training and expertise for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of various medical conditions.
Excluding the compulsory clinical hours, the coursework can be completed online. All of the work is either done on-site or at the institute from where you wish to pursue the course.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners has compiled a list of findings with an estimate of about 189,000 nurse practitioners in the U.S. alone. Each of the individual specializations has a particular share of nurse practitioners.
Specializations prove to be helpful when you want to give undivided attention to a particular type of program. Further, if you have a natural inclination and aptitude for the specialty, you will inherently fare better and grow more.
Requirements for Nurse Practitioner Programs
Just like any professional course, the nurse practitioner program requires an entrance examination qualification. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) requires a basic understanding of the GPA requirement and, accordingly, a minimum score in the GRE too.
Further, you need a Registered Nurse license, letters of recommendation from your colleagues, mentors, or faculty, and a resume to give a brief about any work experience.
The Master’s course for the nursing program requires that the credits and the necessary curriculum are also stringently followed. Many of the nurses even opt for the Doctor of Nursing Program, which is another discipline that requires equal effort and extra work to pursue.
Concerning the education obtained in the nursing faculty, the completion of coursework like health promotion and maintenance, disease management, and subsequent diagnosis is necessary for the complete fulfillment of criteria.
Coursework and Syllabus Requirements
Even though there are numerous areas of specialization to choose for a nurse practitioner, the central plan and subjects offered in the coursework are similar for all of the specialties.
Classes like the Advanced levels of Health Assessment, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology are common to all nurse practitioners programs. There are also courses unique to specific programs and courses that focus on specialties.
Classes can vary in nature and diversity of curriculum because of the areas of specialization. For instance, nurse practitioners who have selected Neonatal care as their specialty will pursue classes that train them as the primary support and caregivers for infants and any variations in the health of a newborn.
Hence, such lessons deepen their understanding of the health and assessment of pediatric care. Similarly, suppose you’re interested in being a family nurse practitioner. In that case, you will consider issues like women’s health and take up classes that provide a certain degree of expertise in Pharmacology, the lifespan of an individual, and how it affects their overall health and family therapy sessions in general.
You complete your coursework and the additional training under the skillful guidance of a mentor who ensures there’s no delay and the work gets done on time. There’s also the other requirement of the project thesis, which should get completed prior to obtaining the professional degree.
Whichever is the area of specialization, the Nurse Practitioner has to complete the working hours as a part of their comprehensive curriculum and course work. The minimum requirement of clinical hours is approximately 500 hours.
Level of Recognition of the Accredited Universities
Accreditation of the educational institute is an essential factor that needs careful consideration. The organizations are responsible for awarding the accreditation. They are the Accreditation Commission for Nursing Education and Commission on Collegiate Education in Nursing.
The former provides accreditation for various professional courses like an advanced diploma, certificate, and graduation-level programs. The latter organization provides accredited courses like the Bachelor’s, graduate-level, and residency programs as well.
All of the national examinations require the minimum pre-requisite of the appropriate accreditation of the educational institution. As decided by the American Academies for Nurse Practitioners and their credentials center, accreditation is essential for continuous self-assessment and access to various resources for fulfilling your education requirements.
Projected Timeline of A Nurse Practitioner Program
The duration of the course depends upon several factors. First and foremost is the type of course that you’re interested in pursuing, whether it’s the Master’s course or the Doctor of Nursing Program.
To move to an advanced degree like the Master’s course, you should successfully complete the Bachelor’s course first. After successfully sorting out the graduate qualification, you can look into other options like the bridge programs. They connect the Registered Nurse qualifications with the Master’s courses, respectively.
If you choose a bridge program, then the total time taken for qualification is five years. But if your choice of program is Doctor of Nursing instead, then the total time taken to complete the course is nine years.
The primary point in consideration is that your program will take longer to complete without a bridge program’s assistance or do not have a nursing background. Further, if you stress attending school part-time, even then, you will tend to stay longer in the program than necessary.
Another critical factor is the availability of online programs. Universities far and wide offer online classes and pieces of training. You can avail of the services from the comfort of your home and use the time on hand to pursue additional training and part-time jobs, if necessary.
A Nurse practitioner program is a holistic approach to the basics of Nursing education. Your coursework will work on various aspects of the training and specialization, helping you earn the necessary educational qualification.
Choosing A Nurse Practitioner Program
Based on the factors mentioned above, you can decide to pursue the respective program if you’re interested in becoming a nurse practitioner. The criteria and requirements will also keep you updated with the recent trends and developments in nursing education. So choose wisely and judiciously, giving appropriate consideration to a variety of factors when choosing a nurse practitioner program.