As one of the most caring and rewarding career options worldwide, it’s no surprise that more and more people are choosing to get into nursing. Working as a nurse not only gives you the opportunity to help others and make a real difference to real lives every day, but there are also plenty of opportunities for progression and moving up the ranks. Many nurses who progress in their careers go on to become supervisors and managers, but if you want to continue working in a caring role, becoming a nurse practitioner could be the ideal choice for you. Nurse practitioners are key healthcare professionals who work on the front-line of medical care to provide high-quality, compassionate care to all of their patients. By working up to becoming a nurse practitioner, nurses can enjoy a higher degree of independence and autonomy, more flexibility with working hours and a better rate of pay. So, what are some of the main benefits of becoming a nurse practitioner?
More Independence at Work:
Nurse practitioners are permitted to work independently in the majority of US states. This means that they are licensed to diagnose conditions, prescribe medications, and refer their patients to treatment without needing to be signed off by a primary care physician. As a result, nurse practitioners are helping to close to gap that has been caused by the current shortage of primary care physicians and are helping to make healthcare more accessible to everybody through retail clinics and walk-in centers that they will often manage. Compared to registered nurses, nurse practitioners tend to have much more freedom and autonomy to choose how and where they want to work, and are often free to start their own clinics and healthcare practices. Click here to find out more about setting up a private practice as a nurse practitioner.
Increased Work Opportunities:
Nurse practitioners are not only helping to counteract the effect of the current nursing shortage in the US, but are also working to fill the gaps left by a severe shortage of primary care physicians, particularly in many rural areas. There’s a high demand for nurse practitioners in every area of healthcare, and there are various specialties that a nurse practitioner can choose to focus on, providing them with an increased amount of work opportunities to choose from. Along with the option to run their own clinics, nurse practitioners can often easily find work in a huge range of healthcare and community settings including hospitals, doctor’s offices, correctional facilities, in healthcare policy, medical research, at pharmacies and retail clinics, in schools, and more.
With the number of primary care providers in the US on the decline, there has never been a better time for registered nurses to consider studying to become a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners are seen as a huge solution to many of the issues that the healthcare industry is facing today, which has led to a huge demand for these professionals. Nurse practitioners are in demand almost everywhere that you go, particularly in rural and fragmented patient populations but also in cities and urban environments. Registered nurses who decide to move up the career ladder into a nurse practitioner role will typically find it easy to find work wherever they go. Not only are they tasked with providing front-line patient care, but their role also involves providing education and counselling to patients regarding their health and well-being. Due to the compassionate and helpful care that they provide, nurse practitioners are also in high demand with studies showing that patients who visit a nurse practitioner for their primary care needs typically enjoy better overall health and are less likely to be readmitted.
Any nurse knows that this is an industry where you are needed at every hour of the day and night. Patients in any location need to be able to access healthcare at any time, which means that nurse practitioners are able to enjoy a very flexible work schedule. Nurse practitioners can choose to work in a clinic at regular business hours, for example, or in the emergency department of a hospital or urgent care center where they may be providing care to patients at unsociable hours. Running your own clinic as a nurse practitioner allows you to set your own working hours depending on what works best for you. The flexibility of your role as a nurse practitioner is not only limited to the hours that you want to work, either. Nurse practitioners can choose to study and work with certain patient populations such as children and babies, women, or older people, or people who are suffering from certain conditions such as psychiatric illnesses.
Competitive Rate of Pay:
Most nurses go into their line of work first and foremost for the reward, satisfaction, and ability to make a difference – but pay is also a very important aspect to consider when choosing your career. While finances might not be your main motivation for becoming a nurse practitioner, the good news is that working in this role offers very competitive rates of pay with a huge financial reward alongside the emotional and social rewards of working in this role. And, due to the current growing demand for nurse practitioners in the healthcare industry, pay is only set to improve over time.
Fast-Paced, Interesting Work:
It’s hard to deny that working as a nurse is interesting, fast-paced and filled with a huge range of different experiences. When you work as a nurse practitioner, it’s guaranteed that no two days are going to be the same. It can take you to a wide range of different work environments, whether that’s becoming a business owner and running your own clinic, working alongside a physician in a doctor’s office or working in a hospital. Every shift that you work as a nurse practitioner will bring you new experiences, challenges, and new opportunities to expand your knowledge and learn something new. You’ll be working with a wide range of different people, with the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life every day whether they’re a colleague or a patient. There’s definitely no such thing as boredom with a nurse practitioner’s career.
Further Career Opportunities:
For many nurses, becoming a nurse practitioner is a final career goal. However, for those who want to advance their careers even further, there are still several options for progressing their nursing career even more. Nurse practitioners who are always moving forward and advancing their careers might consider becoming a nurse executive or a nurse leader, managing hospital departments and other important healthcare settings and playing a hugely instrumental part in healthcare policy. Many nurse practitioners decide to move away from the bedside eventually, and go on to become nurse educators, dedicating their time to sharing their knowledge and skills with the next generation of nurses, and encouraging others to get into a career in nursing. There are additional study options available for nurse practitioners who would like to improve their careers even further, from additional courses and programs to specialize in certain areas of healthcare, to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.
Improve Your Personal Growth:
The nursing field is an excellent career choice for anybody who is interested in improving their own personal growth and development alongside their academic achievements. While working as a nurse and progressing into the role of nurse practitioner, nurses need to be open to learning about themselves, improving their mental health and strength, and growing as a person. The best nurse practitioners have excellent communication skills, are highly empathetic, are good leaders, are able to take feedback and criticism in a positive way, and tend to be the type of people who can stay highly resilient and calm in the face of a crisis. Not everybody will start their nursing journey possessing all of these qualities, but over time as you progress in your career and achieve your goals, you can certainly develop them. And, these qualities will not only serve you well in your professional life, but also in your personal life.
Make a Real Difference:
Nurse practitioners will make a real difference to their patients in a wide range of ways. Simply being there to provide patients with the care, support, and validation that they need when they are going through a tough or scary time with their health can really make a difference to their situation and in some cases, their life overall. As a nurse practitioner, you are able to go even further when it comes to making this difference for your patients, with more of a voice when it comes to advocating for patient care, influencing healthcare policy and making sure that your patients always come first. Nurse practitioners are dedicated to not only providing healthcare but teaching patients how they can look after and improve their own health and wellbeing through counseling and education on disease prevention, self-care and more.
Whether you’re an experienced nurse already or are at the beginning of your journey into nursing, there are plenty of reasons to consider setting yourself the goal of qualifying as a nurse practitioner.