Nursing is referred to as the “caring” profession, and nurse practitioners are first and foremost nurses.
Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) work on the front lines of healthcare to provide compassionate and quality care to all people, while Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners (AGNP) work with patients from adolescents through adults into advanced age. Nurses who invest in advanced practice and additional clinical hours to become nurse practitioners empower both the nursing profession and the patients they serve.
A great place to start the FNP or AGNP journey is through the Spring Arbor University Online Nurse Practitioner programs. A decision to invest in yourself and your patients by pursuing a Master’s degree in Nursing is not an easy one, but it’s worthwhile. Spring Arbor University not only provides an excellent nursing education, it also enhances compassion and care through faith-based values and instruction.
Beyond the Obvious Benefit of Enhanced Patient Care
The decision to become a family nurse practitioner or adult-gerontology nurse practitioner is a win-win scenario for both nurse and patient. Besides the obvious benefit of improved patient outcomes that education advancement provides, the profession of nurse practitioner offers impressive individual benefits.
Nurse practitioners have greater control over their professional practice and patient outcomes. They can run their clinics independently in some states, and NPs are being granted more autonomy nationwide. Additionally, there is a nationwide shortage of physicians and an ever-increasing need for primary care. Rural areas are particularly in need of competent practitioners, and a more significant percentage of NPs run independent clinics in these areas to fill this void.
A nurse practitioner can work independently or in collaboration with a doctor. Forty-three percent of family nurse practitioners work in family health but there are additional opportunities in teaching, healthcare research, and administration.
Family nurse practitioners combine the compassionate care of a nurse with comprehensive primary care. FNPs expand nursing care with earning diagnostic privileges. They can treat illnesses and injuries and manage overall patient care. This autonomy and total control of patient care augment the focus of how having a graduate degree in nursing can improve patient outcomes.
Nurses and NPs emphasize knowledge of disease prevention and lifestyle — nurses teach, and patients learn from nurses. Nurse practitioners order and interpret testing. They can also prescribe treatments and medications due to their clinical experience and graduate program degree.
The Need for Nurse Practitioners is Growing
Nurse practitioners are in high demand nationwide with a projected shortage of primary care providers. The decision to become an advanced practice nurse and get your master’s degree adds value to your personal life, your job, and your community. If you are a registered nurse, whether you have an associate’s degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in nursing, taking one of the RN to NP degree programs could advance your career in this sought-after profession. The RN to NP programs are bridge programs that help you earn a bachelor's degree along the way during your master's program.
Nurse practitioners are an essential solution to acute care and the increasing problems of an ill and aging population. They are needed in underserved rural and fragmented patient populations, as well as mainstream healthcare environments. Nurse practitioners specialties include blending nursing and primary medicine beautifully to provide exemplary care with a focus on disease prevention, patient mental health and well-being, and patient education. Patients love the caring concern and attention that nurse practitioners provide. Nurses are strong patient advocates, and their work in primary care adds value to the communities they serve.
Top Benefits of Becoming a Nurse Practitioner
From job security, to flexibility, to career advancement, here are some of the main reasons why you should become a nurse practitioner.
Due to a shortage of doctors, the aging baby boomer population and the efficiency with which nurse practitioners can provide quality healthcare to patients, nurses have been and continue to be in high demand, which makes nursing a highly secure career path. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics nurse practitioners will see a 26% increase in demand by 2028.
People need medical care day and night, on weekends and weekdays, in urban and rural locations and in all sorts of settings. Because medicine is such a broad-reaching field and nurse practitioners are so high in demand, nurses often have the luxury of choosing their schedule and location.
As a nurse practitioner, you get to decide: Would you like to work a regular 9 – 5 schedule? Or perhaps night shifts are your thing. You choose the setting: Are you interested in working at a private practice, in a hospital, at a school, in a research facility or elsewhere? You select your specialty: Do you want to interact with a variety of patients, or are you looking to hone in on a certain type of patient, such as pediatric or geriatric, or medicine, such as oncology or anesthesiology? If you know what you want as a nurse, you should be able to find it.
Nurses have so many potential paths from which they can choose, and even better, they can change their path at any time without worrying about jeopardizing their career. For example, you could go from being an inpatient nurse at a clinic to doing research at a medical device company and then return to being an inpatient nurse — or even try something else — without suffering any sort of major career progression disruption. In addition, once you’ve passed your certification exam and earned your registered nurse license in one state, you can apply for reciprocity in another state, and potentially move around freely.
As a nurse practitioner, you are not limited to a clinical setting. Being a nurse practitioner could mean you execute critical medical research, educate other nurses, hold a medical-related corporate position, advocate for nurses or patients, and more.
Nurses make a significant difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. They help and support both their patients and their patients’ families. Simply put, that feels good — it’s the main reason most nurses become nurses.
Nothing stays the same for long in the medical field, and nursing is no exception. Constantly evolving, changing and advancing, nursing offers a lot of opportunity to learn and grow. Typically, good nurse practitioners are accepting of change and handle it well.
Nursing Keeps Life Interesting
As a nurse practitioner, chances are you’ll never encounter the same exact situation twice. Every shift brings new challenges, satisfaction and opportunities to learn. You are not at risk for boredom as a nurse; learning, and even stress and frustration, effectively keep you engaged and motivated to do your best.
Nursing is a financially competitive field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean national nurse practitioner salary is $107,030, but salaries can vary greatly depending on the market, your education level (associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or, master’s degree) and your specialty. In general, nursing pays well.
Respected and Trusted
Year after year, nursing is among the top two most respected and most trusted professions (along with firefighting), and for good reason. It is a demanding job that requires a great deal of stamina, compassion and skill. In return, along with all of the other rewarding benefits listed above, nurses enjoy the well-deserved respect, admiration and appreciation they receive from their peers, families and communities on a regular basis.
See Spring Arbor University Online's top nursing blog posts below.