A nurse practitioner is a health care professional that works closely with physicians to provide quality health care services to patients. One of the minimum requirements in order to enroll in a nurse practitioner program is possession of an RN license. To be eligible to sit for the state nursing licensure and to work as a registered nurse, one must first earn a two-year Associate’s degree or 4-year Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. After graduating from the nursing program, students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
It is probably best for those who want to become a nurse practitioner to begin their education at the Bachelor’s degree level. Since nurse practitioners are graduates of a Master’s degree mostly in nurse practitioner concentration, the minimum level of education requirement to get into the nurse practitioner program is possession of a Bachelor’s degree. Registered nurses who have Associate’s degree in nursing must first obtain their Bachelor’s degree in Nursing before applying into the program. The Bachelor’s degree program includes courses in pharmacology, psychiatric nursing, community health, leadership and management and mental health. Additionally, although a master’s degree is the minimum requirement to practice as a nurse practitioner, a doctorate degree in nursing is often times needed to practice as a nurse practitioner.
After obtaining their undergraduate Bachelor’s degree in nursing, RNs who wish to become a nurse practitioner will then be qualified to apply in Master of Science in nursing programs. Most nurse practitioners only have one area of specialty and some of the areas of medicine that nurses in the master’s program may pursue include family medicine, acute care, pediatrics, mental health, school nursing and diabetes management. After graduation from the masters program, prospective nurse practitioners are eligible to sit for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) licensure examination to obtain their nurse practitioner certification. In some cases, master programs in nursing practitioner also require their applicants to work professionally as a nurse for about two to three years before they can enter the program.
Another route that is not as common is to earn a bachelor’s degree other than nursing. There are special programs that offer this option to those who are not nursing degree holders. The program includes training the students to become nurses while at the same time fulfilling the requirements needed to take the nurse practitioner certification examination.
It will take approximately 6 years for nurses to become a nurse practitioner. However, the education and training that they get over the course of 6 years starting from their undergraduate degrees to their master’s degree in nursing will prepare them in providing preventive and critical health care services to patients of all ages. They will be able to work confidently and independently or work efficiently with the health care team.