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What does a Nurse Practitioner do?

Learn all about Nurse Practitioner duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Nurse Practitioner.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has completed a graduate-level program and received training in a specialized area of nursing. Nurse practitioners provide primary and specialty health care services to patients of all ages. They may also serve as consultants to other health care providers and organizations.

Nurse Practitioner job duties include:

  • Assessing patients to determine their health status and needs
  • Ordering, performing, and interpreting diagnostic tests
  • Developing treatment plans based on patients’ needs
  • Prescribing medications and other treatments
  • Monitoring patients’ progress and modifying treatments as needed
  • Educating patients and their families about health conditions and preventive measures
  • Collaborating with other healthcare providers to coordinate care
  • Making referrals to specialists as needed
  • Documenting patient care in medical records

Nurse Practitioner Job Requirements

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has completed a graduate-level program in nursing. In order to be certified as a nurse practitioner, one must pass a national certification exam. Most states also require nurse practitioners to be licensed. The educational requirements for a nurse practitioner vary by state, but most states require at least a master's degree in nursing. Some states also require nurse practitioners to complete a certain number of hours of clinical training.

Nurse Practitioner Skills

  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Critical thinking
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Active listening
  • Writing
  • Research
  • Time management
  • Patience
  • Physical stamina

Related: Top Nurse Practitioner Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Nurse Practitioner

There are many reasons why someone might want to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP). Maybe they have always been interested in health care and want to play a more direct role in patient care. Or maybe they are looking for a career change and see NP as a way to use their existing nursing skills in a new and exciting way. Whatever the reason, becoming an NP is a rewarding and challenging journey.

The first step is to obtain a registered nurse (RN) license. This can be done by completing an accredited nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Once you have your RN license, you will need to complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with a focus on primary care or family nurse practitioner. These programs will prepare you for the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) licensure exam. Once you have your APRN license, you will be able to practice as an NP.

Becoming an NP requires dedication and hard work, but it is a rewarding career path that can make a difference in the lives of patients. If you are passionate about health care and helping others, NP may be the right career for you.

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