10 Great Reasons to Become a Nurse Practitioner

10 GREAT

Are you a college student who is considering applying to nursing school as the first step in becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP)? Or, are you already a registered nurse who is interested in pursuing a career as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)? If you are wavering and still not convinced that becoming a nurse practitioner is right for you; consider this:

#1 Earning Potential

A Nurse Practitioner’s earning potential is significantly higher than a Register Nurse (RN). According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a NP’s 2012 median pay is 96,460 per year while an RN’s is only 65,460 yearly. A thirty thousand dollar per year difference is substantial.

#2 Autonomy

Nurse Practitioners call the shots regarding their patient’s care. Unlike physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners have the authority to practice independently or collaborate with a physician depending upon the state they are practicing in.

#3 Student Loan Repayment

There are some instances where registered nurses can get their student loans repaid by the government. Primary care NPs may have a chance to get their student loans paid through the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment program which is not taxable. Some places of employment even offer to pay for their nurse’s advanced education and training in return for a service contract.

#4 Career Opportunities

Some nursing schools prefer to hire nurse practitioners versus nurse educators for certain teaching positions due to their clinical expertise. Also, nurse practitioners certified in one specialty, have the option of receiving additional education to become certified in other advanced practice specialties.

#5 Personal Growth

Becoming a nurse practitioner allows nurses to grow their skills, knowledge, and professional network. Many registered nurses feel a sense of accomplishment after becoming an APRN and enjoy practicing at a higher level of nursing care.

#6 Job Stability

There is an increased demand for nurse practitioners as primary care providers due to the changes that are occurring in the healthcare landscape. In fact, in rural areas, NP’s salary can be much more than the national median.

#7 Respect

With advanced education and training comes increased professional acknowledgement. Also, patients appreciate the difference between RNs and NPs.

#8 Private Practice

NPs are continuing to open their own practices as many physicians move away from primary care toward specialization. NPs perform basic primary and preventative care and treat common illnesses which is not lucrative for physicians.

#9 Variety of Practice Settings

Nurse Practitioners work in a variety of settings such as primary care clinics, urgent care clinics, hospitals, and long-term care. In larger metropolitan areas, even more opportunities exist for NPs such as medical spas.

#10 Schedule Flexibility

While different jobs require various shifts, some NPs are fortunate and land jobs with the scheduling flexibility that is usually only available to physicians. Similar to other careers, usually new nurse practitioners start at the bottom and climb the career ladder to a job with better hours and more perks.

What do you think? Feel free to leave your comments listing the reasons you are considering becoming an NP.

Erica MacDonald
 

Erica RN, BSN, MSN's nursing clinical experience has been in neonatal intensive care (NICU) and Labor & Delivery. She currently works as a nurse educator and nurse writer. In her writing business, she saves educators and businesses time while supporting their mission.

Join Erica each week as she discusses nursing education, careers, and advice for prospective nurse practitioners or anyone interested in learning more about the profession. In the meantime, follow Erica on Google+.