The application process for nurse practitioner schooling is competitive. Unlike medical school, nurse practitioners don’t need to have perfect grades. A 3.0 GPA is usually enough to get into most nurse practitioner programs. Your grades in human biology/anatomy and nursing classes are most important. The hiring committee will look for connections between your life experiences and the educational requirements for nurse practitioners. Once accepted, you’ll begin your graduate study in your specialty area.
As of mid-2011, most NP programs at the University of Pittsburgh are doctoral-level. Interested students enroll in a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Depending on their interests, they may choose to specialize in adult care, pediatrics, or neonatology. The psych/mental health nurse practitioner program remains at the master’s level. Students enrolled in the DNP program may need to visit the campus several times a semester or complete intensive weeklong sessions.
Nurse practitioners provide primary care and specialty healthcare to patients. These professionals fill a niche where doctors aren’t always available. They can diagnose and treat illness, order diagnostic tests, prescribe medication, and even educate patients about health and disease prevention. They can also serve as educators and advocates for patients, as well as researchers. They often have advanced degrees, including PhDs in medicine. A nurse practitioner’s job description varies by state, but there is one universal requirement: a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
There are two main routes to becoming a nurse practitioner. You can earn an MSN or DNP. Both of them have their benefits and drawbacks. MSN programs are shorter, while DNP programs are longer and more expensive. While the DNP is the best choice for those seeking advanced clinical training, both are valid routes to nurse practitioner employment. While the MSN is the first step, if you want to specialize in a particular field, you can always go back to complete your doctorate program.
The AGNP specialty track focuses on the aging population. This specialty track is designed to address the mental and physical effects of aging. NPs can work in a variety of settings, from corporate clinics to rural clinics, as well as emergency departments. They can be primary care nurses, psychiatric nurses, or even geriatric nurse practitioners. In any case, nurse practitioners can apply their knowledge of aging and disease management to a variety of patient populations.
While BSN programs are typically the minimum educational requirement for becoming a nurse practitioner, some advanced practice nursing programs may allow nurses to specialize in specific areas. For example, an advanced practice nurse may choose to focus on population health and technology. In addition to this, an additional certificate program may be appropriate for a practice nurse who is interested in expanding her focus to the population. When looking for nurse practitioner schooling, consider the following options. All of them will prepare you for a career in a growing field.