Becoming A Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner also known as a registered nurse needs to complete a training program in diagnosis and management of common medical conditions, which includes chronic illnesses. As a nurse practitioner, you will be working with various health care facilities and services. NP's provide the same care as provided by a physician and one of the primary responsibilities is to maintain good working relationships with the doctors or physicians.

License and Certification

If you are planning to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner then you will need to get a license but before that you will have to complete a training program necessary for registered nurses (RN). The educational qualifications for a RN include a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), or a diploma followed by an associate degree in nursing (ADN). You will also have to complete a practical training program that will help you or prepare you to handle chronically ill patients as a nurse practitioner.

Junior colleges and community colleges offer associate degree in nursing programs, and the duration is 2 to 3 years. On the other hand a Bachelor of Science degree or BSN program takes 4 to 5 years to complete.

Most employers look for a minimum requirement of a master's degree for a nurse practitioner. There are some states, which have made it a mandatory requirement for NP's. If you want to become a nurse practitioner and if you have an associate degree in nursing then you can go for the BSN to MSN or master's program.


As a nurse practitioner, your duties will encompass the following:

1. You will have to collaborate with various health professionals including physicians as required.

2. Counseling the patients is an integral part of the nurse practitioner routine.

3. You will have to work towards educating patients regarding self-care options, health behaviors, and medical treatment options.

4. One of your primary responsibilities will include prescribing medications, rehabilitation treatments and physical therapy.

5. You will need to diagnose and treat patients with infections, injuries and acute illnesses.

6. As a nurse practitioner, you will also have to monitor, diagnose and treat chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.

7. Before you can start treating a patient, you need to obtain previous medical reports and medical history followed by a thorough physical examination.

8. You will have to order and interpret diagnostic reports like lab test reports, x-ray report, EKGs etc.

Jenny Taylor