Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Career Overview
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What is a women's health nurse practitioner (WHNP)? A WHNP cares for women of all ages, typically focusing on obstetrics and gynecology along with primary care.
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Nurse practitioners are in demand across the country. Women's health nurse practitioner (WHNP) salaries reflect this demand, with a median salary in the low six-figures. This guide describes typical WHNP salary ranges, identifies the cities and states where you're likely to find the highest women's health NP salaries, and describes how to earn more.
Keep reading to find out more about this rewarding career and how to maximize your salary.
Average Salary for Women's Health Nurse Practitioners
WHNP salaries, at a median $105,000 as of 2019, are lower than many other NP specialties, though women's health NPs often have lower stress. They usually work more predictable hours than other specialties too.
Still, women's health nurse practitioner salaries are more than 35% higher compared to the median registered nurse salary (RN) at $77,600, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
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Highest-Paying Cities and States for Women's Health Nurse Practitioners
According to the BLS, NP salaries (across all specialties) are highest in the states of:
- California (average salary $151,830)
- New Jersey ($137,010)
- New York ($133,940)
- Washington ($130,840)
- Massachusetts ($129,540)
How Do Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Salaries Compare to Other Specialties?
Women's health nurse practitioner salaries are lower than earnings for other specialties, though women's health tends to offer more predictable hours and less stress. For comparison, certified nurse midwives, earn a median salary of $111,130, according to the BLS, but unlike WHNPs, they are qualified to oversee labor and delivery and provide antepartum care.
4 Ways to Increase Pay as a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
While women's health nurse practitioner salaries are overall lower than other NP specialties, you can still find ways to earn more or to make your salary go further. Some of these require significant or lasting lifestyle changes, while others are temporary measures (such as earning a doctorate) or changing responsibilities (like moving into administration).
Practice as a WHNP Travel Nurse
Travel nurses go to where the demand is highest, for periods ranging from a week to months. Some travel nurses earn more than twice the regular salary for equivalent permanent positions. This is personally demanding since it means a physical separation from friends and family.
If you have a partner who can telecommute, though, it's a way to see the country together. It also requires learning a new culture and processes and getting to know new colleagues in each organization.
Earn Your Doctor of Nursing Practice
A doctor of nursing practice (DNP) takes most candidates at least three years and is a major financial commitment. Still, it opens even more doors to advancement. A DNP is especially valuable at large academic medical centers, if you want to become the head of a nursing department, lead major quality improvement initiatives, or teach nursing.
Pursue a WHNP Position in Nursing Administration
In addition to offering a higher potential women's health NP salary, nurse administration is generally less physically strenuous than direct patient care. Generally, nurse administration careers require extensive experience and/or a doctorate.
The more leadership experience or education you have, the better your chances. If you have a nursing mentor in administration, talk to them about their pathway and recommendations.
Relocate to a Region With Higher Pay
By going where demand is high, but the cost of living is low, you can either increase your WHNP salary or make your salary earn more. If you go to a medically underserved area, you may be eligible for nursing student loan forgiveness (or for a nursing scholarship in exchange for committing to work in an underserved area), which means you can keep more of your salary.
Frequently Asked Questions About Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Salaries
Are women's health nurse practitioners in demand?
Currently, all nurse health practitioners are in demand. However, one study projects that by 2030, there will be a surplus of 8,970 WHNPs.
However, these projections do not take COVID-19's impact on the nursing workforce into account, so the surplus may be smaller than projected.
How do women's health NP salaries compare to other women's health nursing roles?
Women's health nurse practitioner salaries are considerably higher than RN salaries and somewhat higher than nurse midwife salaries. The median WHNP total income is $110,000 (including bonuses), while nurse midwives earn a median $111,130.
What is the difference between a certified nurse midwife and a women's health NP?
Certified nurse midwives and women's health NPs are both advanced practice nurses, with at least a master's degree and board certification in their field. However, nurse midwives and WHNPs have very different professional focuses. Nurse midwives specialize in pregnancy and delivery and are licensed to oversee births. Women's health nurse practitioners cover all aspects of women's health with the exception of pregnancy and delivery.
How can RNs gain experience in women's health?
RNs can gain experience in women's health by working in obstetrics and gynecology, in hospitals, independent practices, fertility clinics, or other women's healthcare settings. They can also work in clinics, military bases, or other nonspecialty settings focusing on specialty care for women.
Page last reviewed April 12, 2022
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