A nurse practitioner is someone who has received advanced training in a nursing specialty. This education is preparation for providing care to patients in hospitals, clinics, private practice or physician's offices. While being a nurse practitioner has many benefits, there are also a number of disadvantages that individuals who choose this career must deal with. These things should be taken into consideration by anyone who is thinking of entering the field.
The training that's required in order to become a nurse practitioner is long and difficult. It requires having a master's or doctoral degree in a specific area of advanced practice nursing, such as mental health, anesthesia or family practice. In order to get into graduate school, applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree in nursing and have at least a year or two of relevant work experience. Nursing school is known for being rigorous and demanding.
Responsibility and Stress
The job of a nurse practitioner can be stressful. They have a great deal of responsibility in managing the health of their patients. They must be skilled at interacting with patients and their families, even when they're uncooperative. It's often difficult for nurses to deal with their own emotions in situations like death and abuse. Handling insurance and legal issues can also cause stress.
It's nearly impossible for some nurse practitioners to practice the way they want to because of legal issues. Each state in the United States has its own laws dictating the privileges that are extended to nurse practitioners. Some of them are more favorable than others. For example, nurse practitioners study pharmacology in graduate school. Most states allow them to write prescriptions, but others don't. Certified nurse midwives can't legally deliver babies in many states.
Although there are job openings for nurse practitioners, the types of positions available vary widely by location. Employment for some specialties is concentrated in urban areas, while others can be found in rural clinics. Because of this, advanced practice nurses often have to move in order to take a job. Some choose to relocate to a different state that has favorable laws and conditions for their specialty.
Nurse practitioners tend to work schedules that are similar to those of doctors. Many have on-call hours in addition to their regular schedules during which they must be prepared to drop everything and go to work if they're needed. This is especially true for nurse practitioners who work in hospitals. It's important to consider the potential impact on one's family and lifestyle before pursuing this career.
- Photo Credit Louis Hall, SXC
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