Nurse practitioners (NPs) are nursing professionals who choose to advance their careers and focus on a specific patient demographic or niche in patient care. Higher education enables them to develop unique specialized clinical and soft skills and enhance their know-how to provide holistic care to their patients. As per the American Association of Nurse Practitioners’ May 2021 report, there are more than 325,000 licensed nurse practitioners in the US, and these numbers are expected to go up in the coming years.

Being a nurse practitioner opens many lucrative opportunities for junior and registered nurses (RNs) who want to advance in their careers. If you’re still not entirely convinced, listed below are some reasons why you, as an RN, should consider becoming an NP.

You can specialize in a particular niche

If you’re tired of the same routine, you can choose to specialize in a particular area of patient care that aligns with your career goals and personality. Choosing a specialization allows you to focus your career on doing something you like and leads to greater job satisfaction. For example, if you like working families only, you can opt for a Master of Science in Nursing FNP degree and start working as a family nurse practitioner. Other popular specialization choices include psychiatric care, senior care (AGNP), pediatrics, midwifery, etc. So, you won’t be stuck doing the same tasks during your shifts.

You’ll have more autonomy

As a nurse practitioner, you will have three types of practice scopes depending on the state you are in. With full practice authority, you will have complete responsibility for your patients’ diagnoses, treatment plans, interpretations of diagnostic test results, and medical prescriptions. You will have almost the same autonomy as a general physician. This is because nurse practitioners undergo the required training during their education and are prepared to take full responsibility for their patients without any physician’s supervision.

However, some states do not allow such authority to licensed NPs. Instead, they have reduced or restricted autonomy and require a physician’s insight or supervision. You can check online to see more details on what each level entails and the limitations according to states.

A quicker way around becoming something like a doctor

Chances are, you must have thought about becoming a doctor at some point in your life before becoming a nurse, but the extensive studying held you back. After all, completing grad school, medical college, and residency can be quite time-consuming. However, becoming a nurse practitioner allows you to acquire similar knowledge, skills, responsibility, and accountability much faster. So how long does it take to become an NP? That depends on the program you choose, your academic background, and whether you will enroll full-time or part-time. Learn more about nurse practitioner schooling here.

You don’t have to be a BSN

Becoming a nurse practitioner does not require you to be a bachelor of science in nursing first. You can opt for an RN to MSN bridge program and fast-track the upskilling process. Or you can opt for direct-entry MSN programs. Direct-entry programs are designed to train people with zero nursing education, knowledge, and experience and take around 2 to 4 years to complete. During a direct-entry MSN program, you will also gain knowledge and skills RNs acquire.

Financial benefits

Is it even worth it? Yes, it is! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), NPs took home an average annual salary of $114,510 per year ($55.05 per hour) in 2020. This is more than what RNs make in traditional healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. Since you can work independently by starting your private practice, you can earn even more.

High demand

The BLS also predicts a positive job outlook for nurse practitioners with a 26% increase in demand between 2018 to 2028. This is among the fastest-growing niches across most jobs. The healthcare industry is booming because of an aging population, an ongoing global health crisis, and staff shortage. Being a nurse practitioner adds to the overall job security. The high career growth rate shows that you won’t be jobless in the future. 

A fulfilling experience

If you choose to be a nurse practitioner, not only will it be financially rewarding, but it will also be just as spiritually and morally uplifting. As you help more people, you get to realize your profession’s worth in society. This motivates you to get up and go to work each morning with a smile on your face. You can see the impact you make on the whole community just by helping one patient at a time.

Mostly, compassionate people who love to help their community join health0related professions. If this is your calling, upskilling your nursing practice makes sense.

You can switch your specialty 

Sometimes people feel stuck with their profession, and switching seems too daunting an option given the investment of time and money it requires. But switching your specialty to avoid such monotony or burnout in a nursing job is relatively simple. If you ever feel like you want to change your specialty or add more to your resume, you can easily do so by either changing your niche or adding a subspecialty. 

Conclusion

So, become a nurse practitioner! It’s fun, fulfilling, and pays well. You’ll also have good job security since many healthcare organizations now prefer to hire NPs because of their skills, knowledge, and accountability. Search the internet for educational options and upskill yourself now.