Nurse Practitioners: Filling a Vital Need

in Overall Health by

In the evolving healthcare field, career opportunities and options are rapidly expanding. This swift growth brings with it demands for additional numbers of skilled caregivers, and the numbers of both traditional and online class formats have increased to meet these needs. One particular medical career called a nurse practitioner is in high demand, and it has a bright future.

The Basics of Being a Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who provide a full spectrum of healthcare services to patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly. They can give patients most of the services that primary care physicians offer, including:

Comprehensive physical exams
Prescribing medicines, including controlled substances
Diagnosing and treating acute illnesses and injuries
Managing depression, diabetes, and other chronic conditions
Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests
Performing procedures
Educating patients

The number of primary care physicians is decreasing, leaving a gap in the spectrum of caregivers. Nurse practitioners fill that space. They are an integral part of modern healthcare, and they provide healthcare not only in populous urban regions but also in remote areas.

Depending on where they work and the type of practice they have, nurse practitioners could have standard work week schedules, or they might be required to work weekends and holidays or be on call after hours.

Where Nurse Practitioners Work

The versatile career of nurse practitioners offers many workplace options. They can work in hospitals and clinics as well as offices and managed care organizations. Nurse practitioners also may deliver healthcare on college campuses, worksite employee health centers, community health centers, and in rural areas.

Career Variations

Those entering the nurse practitioner field have a variety of career options, depending upon individual interests. In addition to directly administering medical care to patients in various locations and situations, nurse practitioners may also work for health technology companies such as pharmaceutical manufacturers, teach in schools and universities, perform healthcare research, and serve in government agencies.

Education

There are many degree options for those interested in becoming a nurse practitioner. If you are one of these people, you can learn more about this career and various education programs online. For example, you can learn more about UC’s nurse practitioner programs and think about the best options for you. There are also many online programs, such as those at Maryville.

A Positive Outlook

In today’s medical care climate, the decreasing number of primary care physicians coupled with the increasing need for healthcare in our population’s changing demographics means that nursing practitioners are in demand now and in the future.

Employment of nurse practitioners is expected to grow at a rate greater than 30 percent for some years to come. Other important factors contributing to this high growth rate include a heightened emphasis on preventative care and newly insured people with coverage under the Affordable Care Act who will be seeking medical care.

The career opportunities for nursing practitioners are wide and diverse. The prospects for this field are positive. If you care about people and want to help them recover from illnesses and stay healthy, becoming a nurse practitioner might be a good career choice for you.

Image Credits: Wikipedia