What A Typical Day Looks Like For A Nurse Practitioner
The healthcare sector is a vast field. Not only is it the busiest industry, but it also makes for a rewarding career. There is much you can do once you join the medical field. These include becoming a doctor, working as a pharmacist, or even pursuing management positions like a hospital CEO. However, none come close to becoming a nurse practitioner (NP). Out of all healthcare professionals, nurse practitioners enjoy an esteemed position in the healthcare industry.
Currently, there are more than 300,000 nurse practitioners in the US. In the Medscape Nurse Career Satisfaction Report, more than 80% of nurse practitioners state that this field is the best choice for them. So, the question arises, what do nurse practitioners do that makes them stand out among other healthcare workers? If you’re considering going down this profession, here’s what you need to know:
What Is A Nurse Practitioner?
Nurse practitioners are highly qualified healthcare professionals responsible for providing various primary, acute, and specialty care services more liberally than the average nurse. It is because to be an NP, you need to have a master of science in nursing (MSN) or complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) which enhances your clinical understanding more than a Registered Nurse (RN).
As a result, you can carry out numerous tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures, intubating a patient, or ordering diagnostic tests. If you want a deeper look into the job, browse through a nurse practitioner day in the life to develop a better understanding of your role.
What Does A Nurse Practitioner Do?
The primary purpose of a nurse practitioner is to prevent diseases from escalating while helping patients embrace better lifestyle choices. Your job depends on the type of NP you become. About 70% of nurse practitioners are family nurse practitioners (FNPs). It allows them to diagnose and treat short-term illnesses and designate a suitable route to manage chronic conditions. But there are other options outside FNP. These include areas like orthopedics, pediatrics, and psychiatry. While each specialization comes with its daily jobs, generally, this is what you will do:
- Come Up With Treatment Plans
When a patient comes to you to get treated, you must devise the best route for their health. Putting together a treatment plan is an extensive process. You will need to review a patient’s medical history, recommend likely lifestyle changes, and refer them to a specialist if needed. You also have the authority to prescribe medications, and unless the state you work in levies restrictions, you can write prescriptions without the supervision of a physician.
Not only that, but you also need to keep tabs on your patients by asking them to come in for a follow-up, requesting additional tests, and ensuring that the treatment you came up with produces promising results. If a physician is absent or needs help managing cases, you may need to stand in for them and provide primary care.
- Thoroughly Assess and Diagnose Patients
Before passing a diagnosis or administering any medication, such as anesthesia, you must accurately assess a patient’s condition. It can be challenging since you have a limited time frame to meet each patient and cannot spend more than the prescribed time.
Simultaneously, this information needs to go in the electronic health chart, and you may need to prepare reports to present your detailed observations on your patient’s health. As a result, you need to find ways to manage your time and ensure that you can keep all records updated. Patients who require routine checkups and preventative care may also come to you. Consequently, you need to know how to manage diagnostic and preventive care patients.
- Manage Other Nurses
Nurses like certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses come under your wing. These nurses prepare patients, chart down a patient’s symptoms, and administer an IV drip or blood transfusions when needed. Nurses that come under your supervision need your guidance and instructions. It includes demonstrating what you need them to do, answering their questions, and delegating tasks according to their skill level. You may also need to train junior nurses and double-check their work to prevent avoidable mistakes.
If you take on a teaching role, you may need to deliver lectures, conduct workshops, and carry out presentations that prepare nursing students for what’s to come. You must step in and handle the situation if you see a junior nurse struggling or accidentally causing a medical mishap. Your skills also extend to research, which involves drafting, teaching, and publishing pivotal papers for the healthcare sector.
- Lend A Hand In Administrative Tasks
Looking after patients also entails managing their records, maintaining their files, and scribing medical transcripts. You may also need to organize their records so no information gets lost in the hospital’s database. Hiring new nurses, creating schedules, and deciding which nurses need to go are also part of your responsibility.
What Is The Career Outlook For Nurse Practitioners?
Nurse practitioners are a fast-growing career in the United States. According to the BLS, by 2030, more than 100,000 new positions may be available for occupation. This is a growth rate of almost 45%. Nurse practitioners are a crucial part of the American healthcare sector.
Your skills, expertise, and qualifications help reduce this industry’s burden due to the growing population. However, depending on the state of your work, you may face certain restrictions, but you are also entailed to an exuberant salary. For instance, you cannot practice independently in California and must work with patients under a doctor’s supervision.
On the other hand, in New Jersey, while you may need a joint protocol with a physician before prescribing a medication, you have complete autonomy over different areas of your practice and a salary of $130,000 per year.
Getting access to qualified healthcare experts is the right of every patient. But sometimes, doctors have far too much on their hands to keep up with the workload. Luckily, nurse practitioners are here to save the day. Being an integral part of the healthcare sector, nurse practitioners play an essential role in providing primary care, and this is also further attested by the BLS. Hence, if you join this career, you will have a busy day. It includes general tasks like assessing patients, managing their records, and coordinating treatment routes. You need to mentor junior nurses outside the examination room and confirm they understand their role. At the same time, administrative tasks like budgeting and creating schedules also fall under your jurisdiction.
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