Adult Nurse Practitioner

What is an adult nurse practitioner?

An adult nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse that has earned a graduate-level education and undergone specialized training to deliver medical and health care services specifically for the adult population. These specialty care providers assist patients by assessing, diagnosing, and treating both acute and chronic health afflictions.

Another part of an adult nurse practitioner’s job responsibility is to educate, counsel, and communicate effectively with both patients and their families regarding any and all relevant information pertaining to current and future care. Adult nurse practitioners

Since the scope of practice for adult nurse practitioners continues to evolve and expand to meet the increasing needs of public and private health care, professionals are frequently engaged in continuing education and research to improve quality care and keep up-to-date with occupational trends.

In terms of credentials, all adult nurse practitioners must be certified by a recognized certifying body such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and obtain occupational licensure from the Board of Nursing specific to the state in which they intend to practice.

What level of education is required of adult nurse practitioners?

Right now, all adult nurse practitioners must hold a master’s degree, post-master’s certificate, or doctorate degree in order to qualify for entry-level positions in the United States. However, doctorate programs are becoming more common because by 2015 all adult nurse practitioners will need to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) prior to employment. Students usually gain entrance into graduate degree programs by first earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and obtaining a registered nurses (RN) license in the state in which they are pursuing an education and career. Currently the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) endorses dozens of accredited on-campus adult nurse practitioner programs across the nation. These programs are available in the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI. There are two such programs offered in Washington, DC as well.

Students are also increasingly showing a preference for online nurse practitioner schools and universities that offer adult nurse practitioner degree programs that can be completed from the convenience of home, and while employed full time as an RN. Students that enroll in an adult nurse practitioner program can expect curriculum to consist of both nursing theory education and applied supervised clinical training. Upon completing graduate programs, students may earn one of the following degrees: BSN to DNP in Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Master of Science in Adult Health Nurse Practitioner, and Post-Master’s in Adult Nurse Practitioner (Certificate).

How does an adult nurse practitioner become nationally certified?

Most adult nurse practitioners become nationally board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The certification process was created to establish professional standards in education and training for nurse practitioners to ensure that patients across the country receive the highest level of quality care. To become eligible for certification, adult nurse practitioners must first acquire a current registered nurse (RN) license. All adult nurse practitioners are also required to complete a graduate program specifically designed for the specialty. These adult nurse practitioner programs must be accredited by either the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on the Collegiate of Nursing Education (CCNE) and instruct in health assessment, health promotion, pharmacology, pathophysiology, disease prevention, differential diagnosis, and disease management.

In addition, this program must also include at least 500 hours of supervised clinical training within its curriculum. Once this specialized education and training criteria has been completed, adult nurse practitioners are qualified to register for written examination by the ANCC. Those that successfully pass examination can officially practice under the professional title of “board certified adult nurse practitioner” (ANP-BC). 

Where do adult nurse practitioners typically find employment?

According to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), in 2010 there were approximately 140,000 nurse practitioners employed throughout the United States. However, since medical patients are making close to 600 million visits to nurse practitioners each year, the demand for these qualified professionals to accommodate patient needs continues to rise. As a result, colleges and universities nationwide are providing graduate degree programs to academically prepare an estimated 8,000 new nurse practitioners annually.

Currently, adult nurse practitioners are employed in variety of medical and health care settings such as medical clinics, public health departments, community hospitals, home health care agencies, offices of physicians, long term care facilities, and private practices. Adult nurse practitioners can also find employment in non-medical settings like academic institutes, research centers, retail-based clinics, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and professional associations.

Employment opportunities for adult nurse practitioners are more prevalent in metropolitan areas because high population densities rely more heavily on health care professionals than more rural regions. Additional nurse practitioner education, training, and certifications in sub-specialties within the field may also enhance one’s job prospects. Examples of sub-specialties within the general nurse practitioner field include: sports medicine, neurology, emergency care, endocrinology, occupational health, dermatology, orthopedics, and urology.

What is the average salary for adult nurse practitioners?

The AANP Nurse Practitioner Compensation Survey of 2008 reported that the average total income for full-time adult nurse practitioners was $92,110/yr. One the other hand, non-salaried nurse practitioners earned an average wage of $42.58/hr. Despite these figures, average salaries often vary according to factors such as practice setting, geographic region, and experience. For instance, adult nurse practitioners that work in urgent care settings typically earn $112,030/yr., whereas those employed in community health centers can expect to earn closer to $84,120/yr.

Geographic location can similarly affect adult nurse practitioner salaries. Professionals that practice in western states like Alaska, Hawaii, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington tend to benefit from mean incomes of $106,840/yr. However, nurse practitioners that work in the central plains states such as Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota often earn lower mean incomes around $85,870.

Finally, the amount of work experience an adult nurse practitioner has also influences salary earnings. Professionals with between one and five years of experience typically receive $87,650/yr. However, those with between twenty-one and twenty-five years of experience often earn a much higher salary of $104,100/yr.

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