The current state of healthcare in the United States is lacking on several fronts, but the biggest concern of all is a severe shortage of doctors and nurses.
By the year 2025, it is estimated that the shortage will be so great that healthcare will be in crisis.
Although there is a shortage of nurses in literally every state, more and more nurses are pursuing advanced studies such as nurse practitioner degrees.
With such a shortage of nurses, many people are wondering if this is really a good thing to do and actually why they are looking to move up the professional ladder.
What You May Not Know About Nurse Practitioners
While it is obvious that the higher the degree, the higher a nurse’s salary will be accordingly, but there is so much more to an online nurse practitioner degree than a simple salary increase.
What you may not know about nurse practitioners is that they can, in many states, work independently of physicians and can do many of the same ‘jobs’ that a GP can do.
Nurse practitioners can diagnose, prescribe medicine and even admit patients to hospitals. However, that being said, there are some states where the ‘powers’ of an NP are limited and they must work under a doctor.
Filling a Greater Need?
Nurses work day to day with patients and are actually with them for much longer periods of time than their doctors.
Because of this, nurses often see how patient care could be improved and so they seek a higher degree where they can make a difference. Doctors are often overwhelmed with the sheer number of patients they must see and so cannot give the amount of time needed.
A nurse practitioner moving up from working as an RN understands the patient’s need for longer or more frequent consultations with their primary care physicians, and so they seek a degree where hopefully they can fill the gap.
Bringing a More Patient-Centric Focus to Healthcare
There are many nurses who feel that doctors should be able to spend more time with the patients they see.
Unfortunately, there simply aren’t enough to go around. They need to budget their time with each patient so they can get to everyone they need to see within a single day.
Some nurses begin working on a nurse practitioner degree because they see the need for a more patient-centric focus to healthcare.
They understand the plight of a GP, but they also understand the needs of the patient. Sometimes, much more than doctors do, since they spend so much time with each and everyone in their care.
Are You Looking to Become a Nurse?
Whether you are looking for a better paying position or simply want to help fill a void left due to a shortage of doctors, you may be asking, “How do I become a nurse practitioner?”
Of course, you know you need to advance your degree to a master’s level and that means you need to go to school.
You can study online while working the same job you are doing now and within just a couple years you could be licensed to work as an NP.
There is a need and with a crisis looming ahead, this is really the time to make the move.
So are you thinking about looking into a nursing career? Share your thoughts and comments below.