Deciding to attend graduate school can sometimes take a lot of thought and planning, especially if you are a nurse facing lots of different career advancement opportunities. Becoming a nurse practitioner is one of the most popular career options for nurses right now, with very high demand, excellent rates of pay, and full practice authority in more than twenty US states. If you have decided that you want to become a nurse practitioner, the next step is picking the degree program that is right for your needs.
To work as a nurse practitioner, you will need a master’s of science in nursing and the appropriate license to practice as an advanced practice registered nurse in your state. However, more nursing schools and colleges are now offering advanced degree programs that are specifically designed to provide nurses with the training that they need to get into this role. When deciding on the right degree program for you as you start on the journey towards becoming a nurse practitioner, consider the following:
Ideal Workplace Setting:
What is your ideal workplace setting once you are qualified and working as a nurse practitioner? Whether you want to work in a clinical role, prefer spending most of your time in an office or want to get into a research-based career will play a part in helping you determine which program is the best fit for your needs. Whether you want to start your own practice, work in a doctor’s office, manage a retail clinic or work in a busy hospital ER department or ward will help you determine whether a program that focuses on acute or primary care is the best option for you. Primary care is ideal for nurses who want to eventually start their own clinic or work in a doctor’s office as a nurse practitioner, while acute care is the better choice for those who prefer the idea of working in the hospital.
As a nurse practitioner, you would treat all patients with the same empathy, compassion and gentleness that you always have. But there is nothing wrong with preferring to treat some types of patients over others. Perhaps you have a special interest in working with a certain type of patient or know that you want to help patients who are suffering with specific types of conditions. Considering who your preferred patients are can help you determine what kind of nurse practitioner training you need. For example, if you love working with children and want to focus on this for the rest of your career, Baylor University’s pediatric nurse practitioner programs could be the right option for you. If you really don’t mind who your patients are, consider becoming a family nurse practitioner.
How to Study for Your Degree:
Whether you want to get an MSN or a DNP, a general advanced nursing program or one that is more highly focused on preparing you to become a nurse practitioner, one of the main questions to consider is how you want to study for your degree qualification. If you are planning to continue working full-time as a nurse while you are studying, this could become tricky if you need to attend classes held on campus at certain times of day and set days of the week. Studying online, on the other hand, is becoming a much more popular choice among nursing students at every level. Online degree programs can certainly be the best option to consider for nurses who are planning to try and balance their studies with continuing to work as normal, since these programs offer much more flexibility.
Where to Get Your Degree:
The college that will eventually award you a master’s degree in nursing or a master’s degree with a focus on becoming a nurse practitioner is also a huge consideration to make. Before you decide where to apply, make sure that you have all the information that you need on the programs that are offered, entry requirements, program flexibility levels, work placements, assignments, and more. Do plenty of research into the college to make sure that they are reputable, recommended by students, and that previous students have gone on to be successful in their chosen careers after graduating from here.
Your Current Nursing Experience:
Getting onto a master’s or doctorate degree program that is designed to prepare you for the role of a nurse practitioner is not always easy, with competition high and a lot of applicants to compete with for the place on the program. This is why it is very important to consider the nursing experience that you have when you fill out your application. This is one of the major things that will be taken into account by admissions tutors and is often a key deciding factor as to whether or not you will be offered a place. If you want to train as a nurse practitioner in a certain specialty area, then it is worth spending time gaining as much relevant experience as possible by working in a certain department or even gaining experience outside of your normal job. Check entry requirements before applying, as some programs may require more experience than others.
How Much Time You Have:
Finally, when considering which program is best for you to take when training to work as a nurse practitioner, your personal circumstances currently and how much time you will be able to dedicate to studying should be an important factor to think about. While online study has made it more possible for nurses to work and study for an advanced degree at the same time, you want to avoid overstretching yourself. If you have a lot of commitments and your job is very busy, it may be worth considering studying a part-time online program that will take a little longer to complete compared to a full-time course, but can be much easier to handle when you’re juggling a lot of different commitments at the same time.
Becoming a nurse practitioner is one of the most popular progression options for nurses today. These are just some of the main factors to think about before you decide on the best advanced nurse practitioner degree program for you.