Nurse Practitioner Job Description And Salary

Last Updated on July 31, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

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What is An NP Job Description

A nurse practitioner (NP) provides primary and specialty healthcare. Like a physician, he or she assesses and diagnoses patients, orders laboratory tests, prescribes medications, and manages health conditions. NPs also educate their patients on how to make healthy lifestyle choices. Because some states restrict their duties, what they are allowed to do differs depending on where they practice

A nurse practitioner (NP) provides primary and specialty healthcare. Like a physician, he or she assesses and diagnoses patients, orders laboratory tests, prescribes medications, and manages health conditions. NPs also educate their patients on how to make healthy lifestyle choices. Because some states restrict their duties, what they are allowed to do differs depending on where they practice.

This is one of several occupations that fall under the general title, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). Other job titles are Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Nurse Specialist, and Nurse Midwife.

Nurse Practitioner careers, salary, job satisfaction

Nurse practitioners work in a variety of specialty areas including Acute Care, Gerontology Health, Oncology, Women’s Health, Neonatal Health, Psychiatric and Mental Health, and Pediatric/Child Health. NPs also work in sub-specialties like Cardiovascular, Hematology and Oncology, Neurology, Sports Medicine, and Urology.

Nurse Practitioner Job Description

Nurse practitioners are in high demand in the job market thanks to their advanced training and a high degree of competence in a variety of medical environments. The job description nurse practitioner applicants can expect will change depending on the specialty field they elect to pursue. Some of the most important nurse practitioner job duties may include the following:

  • Recording patient histories
  • Ensuring medical records reflect symptoms, treatments, and administration of prescribed and over-the-counter medications
  • Performing intake duties to obtain information from patients and, in some cases, from families or guardians
  • Offering support for underserved/rural communities as primary caregivers who can:
    • Perform routine and detailed examinations    
    • Prescribe some medications  
  • Ordering diagnostic tests and operating some kinds of equipment in the medical environment
  • Evaluating test results to determine underlying physiological reasons for patient symptoms
  • Diagnosing medical conditions and devising treatment plans designed to alleviate pain and to stop the progress of diseases and conditions  
  • Supervising the activities of nurses and other staff in clinics and hospitals to ensure tasks are completed promptly and patients receive the best care possible
  • Educating patients and families about medical conditions and treatment plans
  • Collaborating with others in the health care field to share knowledge, create treatment regimens and diagnose patients with unusual or difficult sets of symptoms
  • Collecting and compiling information and samples from patients 
  • Performing scientific procedures using cell cultures and other biological materials
  • Specializing in a wide range of medical categories, including: 
    • pediatric care 
    • geriatrics
    • acute care nursing
    • family practice
    • emergency room nursing
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Education, Training, & Certification

Before one can begin preparing to become a nurse practitioner, he or she must be licensed to practice as a registered nurse (RN). That requires earning a bachelor’s or associate degree, or a diploma in nursing and getting a state-issued license. While most graduate programs prefer to admit candidates who have a bachelor’s degree, some offer a bridge program to those who have an associate or diploma in nursing.

  • Master’s or Doctorate in Nursing Practice: Most people enter this profession by completing a Master’s Degree in Nursing Practice, but some choose to get a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Ph.D. Master’s or Doctoral candidates receive advanced clinical education through classroom and clinical instruction. Coursework varies according to the specialty, but usually includes advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, and health assessment; health information technology; and leadership.
  • NP Licenses: All states and the District of Columbia require nurse practitioners to be licensed. One must have a state-issued RN license and a master’s degree or doctorate in nursing practice. It is also necessary to pass a national certification exam for the population or specialty in which he or she is trained.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Nurse Practitioner? 

Because the process to become a nurse practitioner varies from person to person, it can take from three to nine years to complete all educational and licensure requirements. Students wondering how to become a nurse practitioner after BSN completion can also access programs designed specifically to streamline the process. 

To  achieve success in this fast-paced field, nurse practitioners must: 

  • Stay current with new developments in the field of medicine and health care
  • Have superior communication skills to obtain information from patients and to record that data accurately
  • Display empathy and compassion, which are critical for professionals in all areas of the health care industry
  • Maintain attention to detail and strong analytical skills  

Because these medical professionals are often called upon to supervise or oversee others, leadership qualities are also necessary to ensure the best results for nurse practitioners in real-world situations. 

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How Much Do Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for nurse practitioners in May 2017 was $110,930. The average salaries nurse practitioner professionals can command well over $125,000, making this one of the best-paying careers in the nursing industry. Compensation may also include health and life insurance, childcare benefits, tuition reimbursement, and flexible work schedules. In the hospital environment, nurse practitioners typically work long hours and may be required to perform their duties on call or in shifts that could cover nights, weekends and major holidays. Individuals who are employed by private practices and clinics generally work regular schedules on weekdays and sometimes on weekends; however, they are not usually asked to work on holidays or at other times when the facility is closed.

Nurse Practitioner Job TitlesAverage Annual Salary
Acute Care Nurse Practitioner$97,451
Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner$86,866
Emergency Nurse Practitioner$93,679
Family Nurse Practitioner$89,897
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner$86,512
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner$85,730

Job Outlook

Along with other advanced practice registered nurses, nurse practitioners can look forward to an excellent job outlook. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment will grow 36% between 2016 and 2026. This is much faster than the average job growth for all occupations.

The BLS cites several factors that contribute to this outstanding growth. They include an aging population of baby boomers and an emphasis on preventative healthcare. In addition, many states are allowing nurse practitioners to perform a wider variety of services, which has led to more patients seeking them out.

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