Nurses are in high demand and figure to be so for many years to come. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 12% between 2018 and 2028.
A strong outlook for the nursing profession figures to compel many people to pursue this fulfilling line of work. During such pursuits, aspiring nurses may realize their options are wide open, with many different fields of nursing drawing candidates with an array of skillsets.
One career path aspiring nurses are sure to encounter is that of a nurse practitioner, or NP. NPs are advanced practice registered nurses. The responsibilities of an NP are greater than that of a registered nurse, and as a result, there are additional education requirements for one to become an NP.
What do NPs do?
NPs perform many tasks that people may think can be performed solely by doctors. For example, according to the online nursing resource Nurse.org, NPs can prescribe medications, examine patients, make diagnoses and even provide treatment. If those tasks sound like the responsibilities of a physician, that’s because they’re similar.
The growing reliance on NPs is evident in the career outlooks for these highly trained professionals. BLS projections for NPs is even better than that for registered nurses, with estimates suggesting the employment of advanced practice registered nurses will increase by 26% between 2018 and 2028.
Aspiring nurses should know that the education requirements for NPs are much greater than those for RNs and other roles within the field of nursing. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners notes that all NPs must complete a master’s or doctoral degree program and have advanced clinical training beyond their initial professional RN preparation.