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How to become a nurse practitioner

How to become a nurse practitioner
Photo: How to become a nurse practitioner
To become a nurse pracitioner, nurses will need to complete a relevant Masters degree and at least 3 years advanced practice training which demonstrates that they meet the endorsement requirements of the NMBA.

Become a Nurse Practitioner and take your nursing to the next level

If you're looking for a diverse and exciting career opportunity in a dynamic and often demanding job role then you may want to consider a career as a Nurse Practitioner. As a relatively new role in the world of nursing it was initially devised in order to plug the service gaps that existed within the profession.

About the job role

Nurse Practitioners are classed as clinical and professional leaders and as such are often placed in areas where they can put their clinical expertise and advanced training to good use. As a result they can take on a multitude of job roles working for a wide variety of community and home based services, non-profit organisations or large hospitals.
So what's a typical day like?

Job roles can vary greatly, depending upon where the practitioner is working and what their responsibilities are. In general terms a typical day for a Nursing Practitioner might consist of directly referring patients to other health care professionals as they see fit, ordering diagnostic investigations, prescribing patient medications and performing minor surgical procedures.

Where can a Nurse Practitioner work?

A fully qualified Nursing Practitioner is seemingly in demand and as such can expect to work in a wide variety of areas including

• Age care
• Chronic disease management
• Maternity care
• Mental health
• Primary care
• Perioperative care
• Acute and supportive care.... and much more besides

At present there are just under 850 registered Nurse Practitioners in Australia and as needs grow  and more job roles are created, this figure and indeed the scope for employment is almost certainly set to rise. So how do you become a nurse practitioner? 

What about qualifications?

Whilst it's no secret that a Nursing Practitioner is a highly qualified and highly skilled position (usually educated to clinical Master's Degree level) there are scholarships available. In many territories including Victoria an experienced nurse can go on to undertake further sponsored training to become a fully qualified Nursing Practitioner. In addition to the minimum of 5-7 years of nursing experience needed, NPC's (Nurse Practitioner Candidates) take on a 2 year Clinical Masters Degree course, although many have further years of nursing experience under their belts.

Who fits the criteria?

Sponsorships are open to registered nurses who have sufficient experience and fit the criteria needed to fulfil a specific job role. In order to see if you might be a good fit, then check out the standards and criteria for accreditation as laid down by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Career development

Many experienced Nurse Practitioners often go on to specialise in one or more areas. Others can serve as administrators and managers of community based agencies and health care facilities. There is also scope to leave the clinical setting and go into private practice or even teach at university level. In addition some practitioners can act in a consulting role for pharmaceutical or healthcare industries.

What about the pay?

Newly Qualified Nursing Practitioners in the public sector are paid around $90,000 and this can increase with specialised training, shift allowances and other award payments where this figure can increase to over $100,000. Salaries in the private sector vary greatly depending upon type of employment and responsibility.

Conclusion

The role of a Nurse Practitioner is varied and very much in demand, however long hours and shift work are the norm. If you want to enter into a dynamic new role that's very much in demand the world over and take your nursing skills to the next level, then this role may just be for you.

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