How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

There has been a large increase in the number of nurse practitioner programs and graduates. This was driven in part, perhaps, by the changing health care system, hospital downsizing, increase in ambulatory care and constraints on managed care.

A nurse practitioner (NP) is an advanced practice nurse who has education beyond the bachelor’s degree in a clinical specialty area strongly focused on primary care, though some subspecialties are hospital based. NPs have received specialized training, most often at the master’s level, in diagnosing and treating illnesses and providing health care maintenance.

The keys to the success of the of the nurse practitioner role have been the autonomous yet collaborative nature of the practice, accountability as a direct provider of health care services, emphasis on clinical decision making as a basic clinical skill, focus on health and healthy lifestyles as a foundation of practice and the cost-effective, accessible nature of the practice. These basic attributes of NP practice hold true regardless of setting or specialty focus.

While the performance of such roles bodes well for nursing in general and NPs specifically, there are also some questions about them taking on too much within the health care system. The concern is that if they take on an increasing amount of technical and medical work, then characteristics highly valued in the profession may be threatened like skill in caring and communication.

It is clear that while NPs provide autonomous practice and competent patient management, they also must protect their holistic, caring nursing role.

How to Become a Great Nurse Educator

Students can easily identify their “best” and “worst” teachers. They have learned to identify the differences between effective and ineffective teaching. To be effective involves knowledge of educational theory and research, a willingness to learn new roles and teaching methods, and the ability to reflect on one’s own performance.

The teacher who enjoys nursing, shows genuine interest in patients and displays confidence in one’s professional abilities is rated high. Students need to know that they can trust the clinical expertise of the teacher and skills are being demonstrated correctly. A great nurse educator who portrays excellent clinical skills and judgment becomes a positive role model for learners.

Many educators with well-developed interpersonal skills find that good relationships with students evolve almost automatically. The relationship is not unlike the one nurses develop with patients, where professional boundaries must be drawn. With experience, you will learn how to balance the professional role with personal concern for students’ welfare.

Respect, honest communication and openness between a great nurse educator and students create a relaxed atmosphere in which they are able to see you as a role model. Teaching subject matter in a stimulating way and inspiring learner interest hinge on one’s teaching style, personality, personal interest in the subject and use of a variety of teaching strategies.

At the beginning of a teaching/learning relationship, expectations should be clearly expressed. Complaints of unfairness may be minimized if student evaluation is based on known criteria and if those criteria are pertinent to the learning objectives.

Becoming a Nurse – LPN or RN

The field of nursing is promising if you want to find a job that pays well. There is a shortage of nurses and as the population grows, the need for more and more nurses will continue to rise thereby ensuring you can find a job with ease.

How does one become a nurse? One can either take nursing courses in becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN). If you want a fast course then take a licensed practical nursing course. Usually these courses can be finished within a year. Registered nurses take more time to finish usually up to four years. But before one can obtain a license to practice nursing, one has to take a nursing exam called NCLEX. These exams are usually administered twice a year in the USA and its territories like Guam. More recently Mexico and the Philippines were granted the right to hold these exams.

What do you learn in nursing courses? They teach you anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, psychology, medical ethics, nursing theory and legal matters pertaining to nursing. Clinical training is an important part in the road to nursing. Nursing students are required to apprentice in hospitals and clinics under strict supervision to insure what they do is correct.

Registered nurses usually earn much more than licensed practical nurses due to the broader nursing knowledge they acquired during college. Specialist registered nurses are the ones who get the best salaries but they need to do additional studies before they can be certified in their field of specialization.

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