The need for qualified medical personnel is continually growing. Many patients — and their insurance companies — are opting to have nurse practitioners examine, diagnose and treat them. This fairly new trend can provide you with another option for an exciting, fulfilling and financially stable career. If you already have your bachelor's degree in nursing, you are well on your way. You will need to complete an additional two years of education at a school with an accredited NP program. These five tips on how to become a nurse practitioner will help you become certified so you can advance your career in nursing.
1. Choose the Right Concentration
An NP, like an MD, can work in a specialized field. In fact, it is more important for an NP to do so because of the amount of training and education you receive versus how much general knowledge a doctor learns. While you may decide to become a general nurse practitioner, you would do better to choose a specialty, such as cardiology, pediatrics, OB/GYN, oncology or geriatrics.
2. Practice Nursing While in School
In order to practice while in grad school, you must pass the NCLEX exam and become certified. You should try to find a job working in the field you plan on working in once you begin your new career. Having more practice in the field will prove useful in the required clinical portions of your education.
3. Know the Syllabus
Although you should always do your best, knowing exactly what a professor demands are will ensure you best meet those expectations. If you are still uncertain, you can always visit your professor during office hours for advisement.
4. Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities
This will not only give you more practice and experience in your field, it will also give you the chance to work with other people with like interests. Also, having a study partner or two is always a benefit. Take advantage of activities that will introduce you to other students and people who know how to become a nurse practitioner.
5. Study Hard and Seek Help
Whether you go to fellow students for help or ask your professor, you should strive to understand all the information you are being taught. If you are not sure of something during grad school, you might not understand it when you are practicing in the field and could make a misdiagnosis or prescribe an incorrect treatment. Everyone is going to have questions at some point; there is no reason to be embarrassed.
Once you have finished the program, obtained your master's degree and passed the certification test, you will be ready to go into practice. You need to follow any laws and requirements your state has as far as working with a doctor or having one sign off on your work. In many states, you will be able to work independently.
You already know how to be a nurse; now show the world you're ready to become a nurse practitioner.
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