Registered nurses and nurse practitioners are both essential worker categories that are linchpins of the U.S. healthcare system. However, the two occupations cannot be referred to interchangeably, and the work that both professions perform are quite different. Registered nurses (RNs) work hands-on with patients, usually in hospitals or in healthcare facilities, caring for patients and assisting doctors and other caregivers with administering treatments, tests and medications. Nurse practitioners (NPs), on the other hand, enjoy a much wider scope of tasks and responsibilities. NPs have the licensing and autonomy required to diagnose illnesses, prescribe treatments and make life-critical medical decisions.
While the job responsibilities of RNs and NPs may be different, both careers are in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029” while employment for nurse practitioners “is projected to grow 45% from 2019 to 2029.”
If you are a registered nurse thinking about taking the next step in your career or if you are unfamiliar with the nursing field and want to learn more about different careers, read on to discover how University of Phoenix can prepare you for a career in patient care and medical administration as a nurse practitioner.
Work Assignments of Nurse Practitioners
Nurse practitioners are sometimes referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in the U.S. They are licensed medical professionals who can provide primary care, work in educational settings and take the mantle in a leadership role for healthcare services, education, research, training or operational capacities. They work in hospitals and care clinics but can also find high-impact work in corporate offices, schools, and even insurance companies.
Nurse practitioners blend their clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating patients with a holistic view of patient care to support better health outcomes by building proactive disease prevention and health management protocols into patient care regimens. With this increased level of responsibility, nurse practitioners can compete for higher salary positions as well. According to the BLS, “the median annual wage for…nurse practitioners was $117,670 in May 2020;” in comparison, “the median annual wage for registered nurses was $75,300 in May 2020.”
Becoming a Nurse Practitioner
A career as a nurse practitioner starts with becoming a registered nurse and acquiring, at a minimum, a master’s degree from an accredited university. To become a nurse practitioner, you must be licensed as a registered nurse in your state, possess a state APRN license and pass a national certification exam.
Degree Options for Nurse Practitioners
University of Phoenix degree programs are designed to work around your busy schedule. You can take online classes to develop skills and undergo training that can enhance your career and path toward becoming a certified nurse practitioner. Students can pursue their education without the need to leave their job or putting their career on hold to do so. The University’s online classes allow students to manage and customize class schedules, and you can work toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing, or even a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) based on your interests and where you are in your career.
The University of Phoenix MSN/Family Nurse Practitioner degree program can be completed in as little as 30 months. After completing this program, you can take a number of certification exams conducted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Alternatively, you can pursue a career as a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner or a Family Nurse Practitioner.
All you have to do is choose the program that meets your needs and matches your interests. From there, University of Phoenix can provide learning resources, mentorship, faculty access, training and career counseling to help you achieve your educational and professional goals.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix combines instructional design made for adults with the expertise of subject matter experts and data-driven teaching approaches to help today’s busy working adults achieve their educational and professional dreams. Whether you are interested in a career pivot or want to enhance in your current line of work, the University has the programs, networks and resources to help you succeed. Learn more about how our programs are designed to work around your schedule, how you can save on tuition and the lifetime career services available to set you up for a lifetime of learning.