A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is more than just a doctor’s assistant as many people perceive them to be. They are considered an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) with the authority to provide diagnosis, consultation, and treatment. These nurses can either work in a team or perform independent healthcare services for patients. NPs work mainly in hospitals, physician offices, nursing homes, public health departments, and community health centers. What is the nurse practitioner job description?

Nurse Practitioner Job Description

The job of nurse practitioners mainly focuses on providing general care to patients of all ages. They attend to the patient’s needs with utmost patience, care, compassion and understanding. As a licensed registered nurse, they can perform tasks such as conducting tests, recording medical histories, providing treatments, assisting physicians and enhancing public awareness on the importance of health. Their specific area of expertise would depend on their chosen field of specialization, which includes: geriatric health, pediatrics health, adult health, mental health, pregnant women health, school health, nurse midwifery, and anesthesiology.

In all 50 states, nurse practitioners can prescribe medications, including controlled substances, just like physicians. They also have the authority to practice independently in 26 states. This means in smaller towns and rural areas where physicians are harder to obtain, a nurse practitioner may be the only health care professional accessible for diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. 

Nursing practitioners can carry out the following duties depending on their specialty area:

» Carry out physical exam and record the health history of patients

» Give basic healthcare treatment

» Write prescription and order for medical tests

» Conduct counseling session for the elderly patients and their family members (geriatric nurse practitioners)

» Help the physician in deciding on the right treatment option for the patients

» Educate cancer patients on how to manage their life (oncology nurse practitioners)

» Help psychiatrists and psychologists in reviewing the condition of the patients and determining the right treatment option for them (psychiatric nurse practitioner)

How to become a Nurse Practitioner

Before one becomes a licensed nurse practitioner, they have to undergo traditional schooling in nursing school, graduate, complete a review, then take and pass the nursing qualifying examination. Upon getting licensed as a Registered Nurse, they are required to work or practice their profession for at least a year before enrolling for a master’s degree program in Nursing. The field of specializations these nurses usually study for are epidemiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, diagnostics, radiography, disease management and research methodologies. Master’s degree may take anywhere from 2 to 4 years of additional education.

Nurse Practitioner Job Specialties

Nurses’ jobs usually revolve around family and adult practice, pediatrics, women’s health, geriatrics and acute care. Nurses are also needed in Neonatology, Oncology and even mental health. Nurse Practitioner are also expected to assist the physician promptly and should be able to execute medical treatment with or without the presence or supervision of the attending physicians.

Read More: Nurse Practitioner Schools

Nursing Practitioner Certification

Nursing practitioners who wants to be certified will have to take a certification exam. Requirements for the certification vary from state to state. However, it’s important to understand that each state has different requirements.  Nurses should decide where to apply for a job and inquire, in advance, about the requirements from the state’s nursing association. Bodies that offer the certification across the nation include:

» American Nurses Credentialing Center

» National Certification Corporation

» American Academy of Nurse practitioners

Read More: Nurse Practitioner Salary

Nurse Practitioner Job Description Summary

» Provide diagnosis, treatment and consultation to patients

» Work with physicians and other medical practitioners

» 4 years of RN degree and Master’s Degree in Nursing (2-4 additional years)

» Must be certified to practice

» 34% employment growth by 2022