Nursing Practitioner

A nurse practitioner starts out as a registered nurse, and progresses through higher levels of education to obtain an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (ARPN) license. This allows the Nurse Practitioner (NP) to provide a higher level of care than a registered nurse, and perform tasks that RNs are not licensed to perform.

Nursing Specialities

NPs often enter into advanced training so that they can specialize in a certain aspect of health care, like pediatrics, or geriatrics. Those who choose to earn their advanced degree will be licensed to practice in a role that is remarkably similar to that of a doctor in general practice. They can prescribe medications, order diagnostic tests, diagnose illnesses, recommend a course of treatment, and perform almost all of the functions of a GP or family doctor.
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Getting your Nursing Degree

Before you can earn your NP license, you must first have a license to practice as an RN, a Bachelor’s Degree, practical nursing experience, a Graduate degree, and training as a specialist in some area of nursing. Once you have met all of these requirements, you will be eligible to write the Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam. Passing that exam then certifies you to practice in the state or province where you wrote the exam.

Becoming a Nurse

In total, all of this education takes at least 8 to 10 years, so becoming a Nurse Practitioner requires determination, hard work, and perseverance.Nurse practitioners are practicing all over North America now, due to the shortage of family doctors in many areas. In some jurisdictions an NP must work under the supervision of a doctor, but even then, it can be hugely beneficial to a doctor with a practice that is too large for one doctor to hire an NP, and essentially have a second doctor on site who requires minimal oversight.

A lot of the courses required to become a nurse practitioner can be done online, and many nurses choose to work full time while they complete the required courses.