A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has higher education and training in a particular area, such as pediatrics or family practice. Nurse practitioners have a master’s degree, known as a MSN, as well as board certification in their specialty.
Any registered nurse would be expected to deliver medical treatment and care to a variety of patients, sometimes under the supervision of doctors. However, when you earn a Master of Science degree in nursing, otherwise referred to as a MSN, you will be able to start honing in on a particular aspect of your nursing knowledge.
While regular registered nurses often provide general care, and do a little bit of everything, an advanced nurse with a MSN would have extensive knowledge and training in regards to a specialized area of nursing. For example, an individual who is interested in women’s health or natural health may choose to specialize in nurse midwifery.
Earning a MSN degree can also help nurses to learn the business side of their occupation, if they are interested in making a serious impact within the world of nursing, and the health care industry. As a master’s degree program, the course will teach you about policies, finance, management and leadership. However, deciding upon this route will usually mean enrolling in a joint MSN course, where you learn about health administration or business alongside your specialization.
The Job Description of a Nurse Practitioner
Originally, nurse practitioners were expected to act as an extension of physicians, utilized mainly for improving the health of children. Today, the role has become far broader than it once was, and nurse practitioners often focus on various specialties, including women’s health nursing, family care nursing and adult care nursing. A nurse practitioner role is typically recommended for people who thrive in environments where they are expected to care for other people. They should be able to solve complex problems, and offer a compassionate attitude towards patients. Most of the time, NP programs will be available to students with various different backgrounds, so you may be able to enroll if you have an interest in advancements of patient care.
What You’ll Do as a MSN Nurse Practitioner
As a nurse practitioner with a MSN degree, you will be expected to:
- Write prescriptions for particular medications, including the frequency and dosage.
- Diagnose and treat acute infections, injuries and illnesses.
- Conduct and order diagnostic tests to be conducted on your behalf, such as x-rays and electrocardiograms (EKGs).
- Record and examine the medical history, diagnoses, and symptoms of a patient.
- Talk to patients about effectively managing their health, as well as assisting in designing appropriate treatment plans and recommending further care.
- Provide care and guidance to patients when it comes to taking medication, as well as what side effects they may have, and any interactions that may take place with medication the patient is already taking.
A nurse practitioner role generally focuses on preventative and holistic care, with personalized treatment areas for each individual patient. Because NPs often do their clinical MSN training within a specific specialized area, such as adult care, they can usually offer some degree of specialized expertise alongside their regular duties. Within a job, a nurse practitioner’s role can vary widely depending on their specialty, however, most general tasks can include:
- Treating conditions and illnesses
- Counseling and educating patients
- Diagnosing conditions
The Rewards of Being a Nurse Practitioner
A registered nurse practitioner is required to follow the regulations and rules that have been set by the Nurse Practice Act in the state in which they work. If they have been accredited through a national board exam, they will usually have an additional credential such as ‘certified family nurse practitioner’ or certified pediatric nurse practitioner.
The nurse practitioner profession is regarded by many to be incredibly rewarding, offering plenty of fantastic opportunities to help other people and truly see the impact that you can have on the world around you. With an MSN, nurse practitioners will be able to take on a vital role within the health care industry, and they often have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to deciding which specialty they would most like to focus on. By helping to promote healthy living, prevent disease and generally improve the health of others, nurse practitioners are often referred to by the American academy of nurse practitioners as ‘partners in health.’