Nurse Practitioner

Last Updated:
April 27, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Nurse Practitioner is an essential role in the healthcare industry, with a job description that involves providing care to patients. They work closely with physicians to assess, diagnose, and treat patients with a variety of health concerns. Nurse Practitioners are trained to conduct physical exams, interpret medical history, order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medications, and develop treatment plans.

Their duties also include educating patients on preventive care, managing chronic illnesses, and providing counseling on lifestyle modifications. They may work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, and long-term care facilities.

To become a Nurse Practitioner, a Master's degree in nursing is required, along with certification and licensure in the state they plan to practice. Strong communication, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills are necessary for this role.

Overall, Nurse Practitioners play a crucial role in providing quality care to patients and are an integral part of the healthcare team.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assessing and diagnosing common illnesses and injuries, such as flu or sprains.
  • Prescribing medications and treatments, such as antibiotics or physical therapy.
  • Monitoring and managing chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, such as X-rays or blood tests.
  • Educating patients and families on health and wellness topics, such as nutrition and exercise.
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals, such as doctors and therapists.
  • Referring patients to specialists and other healthcare providers, when necessary.
  • Maintaining accurate medical records and documentation.
  • Continuously updating knowledge and skills through training and education.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a nurse practitioner, you need a lot of education and experience. First, you'll need to get a bachelor's degree in nursing, which usually takes four years. Then, you'll need to work as a registered nurse (RN) for at least two years to gain experience. After that, you can enroll in a nurse practitioner program that usually takes another two to three years of study. These programs offer more advanced medical training, including courses on pharmacology and diagnosing and treating illnesses. You'll also need to get certified by passing a national exam. After that, you can start working as a nurse practitioner in hospitals, clinics, or private practices.

Salary Range

Nurse practitioners play a vital role in the healthcare system. They are trained to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications for patients. Nurse Practitioner salary range in the United States is $89,000 to $118,000 per year, according to SimplyHired. The salary can vary depending on various factors such as experience, geographic location, and work setting. In Canada, Nurse Practitioners can earn an average of CAD 97,000 per year, according to WorkBC. In Australia, they can earn an average of AUD 105,000 per year, according to Payscale. Overall, Nurse Practitioners earn a competitive salary in the healthcare industry.


  • SimplyHired:
  • WorkBC:
  • Payscale:

Career Outlook

The career outlook for Nurse Practitioners in the healthcare industry over the next five years is expected to grow significantly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 45% increase in the demand for Nurse Practitioners between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. This is due to the increasing demand for healthcare services, an aging population, and a shortage of primary care physicians. As Nurse Practitioners gain more independence and are allowed to practice in more states, their role in providing primary care services is becoming more important. This is good news for those interested in pursuing a career as a Nurse Practitioner as the job market is expected to remain strong in the coming years.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is a Nurse Practitioner?

A: A Nurse Practitioner is a registered nurse (RN) who has advanced training, education and certification to provide specialized medical care to patients, with the ability to diagnose and treat illnesses.

Q: What kind of medical care does a Nurse Practitioner provide? 

A: Nurse Practitioners provide a wide range of medical care, which may include conducting physical exams, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, prescribing medications, developing treatment plans, and providing education and counseling to patients and their families.

Q: What is the difference between a Nurse Practitioner and a regular nurse?

A: Nurse Practitioners have completed additional education beyond that of a registered nurse, usually a Master's degree or higher, and have advanced clinical training in a particular specialty, allowing them to diagnose and treat certain conditions without the direct supervision of a physician.

Q: Can a Nurse Practitioner prescribe medications?

A: Yes, Nurse Practitioners can prescribe medications, including controlled substances, in all 50 states under a collaborative agreement with a physician, or, in many states, independently.

Q: What job settings do Nurse Practitioners work in?

A: Nurse Practitioners work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, schools, community health centers, and nursing homes. Some also work in specialty areas such as pediatrics, cardiology, and women's health.

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