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Family Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who actually serves as a primary health care provider. They must work under a physician but works in a very similar capacity to a family doctor. Family nurse practitioners see their own patients, conducting exams, prescribed medication, and diagnose illnesses.

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Education – How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

To become a nurse practitioner, you must be registered nurse and have at least a masters degree in nursing (MSN).  You’ll need to start by getting a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Then you will need to pass your National Council Licensure examination (NCLEX – RN).  Once you have obtained your BSN and passed your licensure exam, you may begin working as a registered nurse. This is a good time to get some experience and decide what nursing field you are most interested in.  At that point you should start your master of science in nursing. A Masters degree can prepare you for a wider range of nursing jobs including those in leadership, healthcare administration, education, or patient care.  All nurse practitioners will first complete a board certification in family practice through the American nurses credentialing Center of the American Academy of nurse practitioners.

Many family nurse practitioner programs offer both a master of science in nursing degree as well as a post-master’s certificate. Full-time and online nurse practitioner programs are widely available.  Nurse practitioner programs are generally offered as a specialty within a Masters of Science program.  Courses and curriculum generally includes courses such as family nursing theory, primary healthcare concepts and practice, management of acute illness, leadership, and research.  Look for nursing programs that integrate certification and credentialing. Many programs integrate eligibility for certifications by the American nurses credentialing Center or the American Academy of nurse practitioners (AANP).

For students that do not currently hold a bachelors degree, it is possible to obtain your nursing masters and bachelors together through a bridge program generally entitled RN-to-MSN.  In a program such as this, you must first be a registered nurse. Online nursing programs are widely available and a great option for obtaining your RN for individuals who have busy working schedules.  For individuals who have already obtained their bachelors degree, there are accelerated nursing programs that allow you to obtain licensure as a registered nurse. 

Family Nurse Practitioner Salary

Nurse practitioner salary is among the highest of all of the nursing careers. Nurse practitioner jobs in 2012 paid an average of $90,000. The top 10% earned around the hundred and $20,000 per year.