NURSE PRACTITIONERS provide basic primary healthcare services to persons to maintain health, prevent illness, or deal with acute and chronic health problems. They perform comprehensive health assessments that include medical and social history and physical exam. They diagnose and treat infections and injuries, and diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. They order and interpret lab tests and x-rays. They prescribe or recommend prescriptions for medications and other treatments. They refer patients to physicians, specialists, and other health care professionals when necessary.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $88,500 average per year ($42.50 per hour)
- A very large occupation (2,655,000 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow rapidly (2.2% per year)
NURSE PRACTITIONERS are registered nurses (RN) with advanced expertise in the clinical management of health problems. They usually have a master's degree with advanced didactic and clinical preparation beyond that of an RN. Students entering a nurse practitioner program need a bachelor's degree in nursing. Master's programs are usually two years in length. Nurse practitioners practice within a scope as regulated by a state licensure agency. They prescribe medications within state regulations. They refer complicated cases to a specialist.