Nurse practitioner job description, requirements, and salary

Last updated: June 23, 2024
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Jennifer Young
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Nurse practitioner job description, requirements, and salary
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Working as a nurse practitioner is a challenging but rewarding career.

It’s a job in high demand in a rapidly-growing industry. There is no lack of open opportunities for a variety of nurse practitioner roles.

It requires extensive education, but the high pay and ability to make a difference in people’s lives can make it worth it.

In this article, we’ll look at what a nurse practitioner is, how to become one, and what kind of salary you can expect to earn as a nurse practitioner.

What is a nurse practitioner?

A nurse practitioner, or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), is a specialized nurse who has at least a master’s degree in their chosen specialty.

Specialty areas vary, but you can find APRNs working as nurse anesthetists, midwives, and general practitioners.

The job scope varies from state to state, but in general, they coordinate patient care and provide primary care and specialty healthcare.

In many states, a nurse practitioner can prescribe medications and diagnose health problems. They can operate independently or with a physician.

A nurse practitioner is a step above a registered nurse in many ways, including in educational requirements, job responsibilities, and salary.

Nurse practitioner job responsibilities

The job responsibilities of a nurse practitioner vary based on specialty but can include:

  • Gathering and recording patients’ medical histories and symptoms for medical records

  • Creating patient treatment plans and fulfilling existing plans

  • Observing patients and performing physical examinations

  • Ordering and carrying out diagnostic tests

  • Operating and monitoring medical equipment

  • Collaborating with other nurses

  • Analyzing test results and altering treatment plans accordingly

  • Prescribing medicine and treatments to patients and monitoring their responses

  • Counseling patients and their families on how to manage conditions and mental health

As mentioned, a nurse practitioner’s job will vary.

For example, if you are a nurse-midwife, you’ll focus on women’s health. Your work will include prenatal and neonatal care as well as caring for new mothers.

Expect to deliver babies, provide gynecological exams, assist with family planning, and more.

Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia and care for patients before, during, and after a procedure. They are highly specialized and have at least a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Science degree in nursing.

General nurse practitioners work in a variety of healthcare settings, providing advanced nursing care to patients.

They assess patients and sometimes even diagnose health conditions. They may specialize in certain age groups. For example, a nurse practitioner could work in geriatrics or provide pediatric care.

Nurse practitioner skills and experience requirements

To become a nurse practitioner, you must first become a registered nurse. This means you’ll need a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.

Once you have some experience under your belt, you’ll be able to move forward and become a nurse practitioner by obtaining your master’s degree.

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Nurse practitioners are healthcare professionals specializing in a certain field of healthcare. As such, you’ll need experience in that area and the appropriate licensure.

The exact requirements depend on the state, but you’ll typically need your RN license as well as a nurse practitioner license to practice.

Aside from that, there may be other qualifications, including basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation certifications.

Nurse practitioners have excellent communication skills and should demonstrate a high level of care and compassion for patients. It’s a job requiring excellent interpersonal skills, both with co-workers and patients.

Nurse practitioner salary and employment rates

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a nurse practitioner in the U.S. can make $110,670 per year.

Depending on your specialty, you could be earning more or less. For example, nurse anesthetists' median annual wages were $183,580 in May 2020, whereas a nurse-midwife earned a median annual wage of $111,130.

Your salary will also vary based on where you’re employed. Nurse practitioners working in hospitals earned more than their colleagues working in doctor’s offices.

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The nurse practitioner career field is experiencing monumental growth. Employment is expected to grow 45% between 2019–2029.

Nurse practitioner resume tips

A well-thought-out resume will help you land a career as a nurse practitioner. Here are five tips to get you started:

1. Use a summary statement instead of a career objective

You may have been taught to include a career objective in your resume. It looks like this:

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However, you should consider using a summary statement instead. A summary statement describes the most important points of your resume in just a few sentences.

It gives you a chance to highlight the skills you bring to the table, letting the employer know what you can do for them.

2. Start with your experience

Organize your resume using a logical format. Present your experience immediately after the summary statement so that it’s one of the first things recruiters see.

3. List job experience in chronological order

Keep your current and most recent full-time experience at the top and proceed in reverse chronological order.

Recruiters will only skim your resume. An unorganized resume will throw the recruiter off and reduce your chances of getting a call back.

4. Keep it as relevant as possible

There’s usually no point in listing your Starbucks barista experience on your resume when you’re applying for a nursing position.

Keep it relevant. List previous healthcare positions as well as relevant volunteer roles and internships.

If you don’t have much experience, you can reference other positions. However, tailor your responsibilities to the job description so that they’re as relevant as possible.

5. Use numbers to back up accomplishments

If you have specific stats to back up your claims, list those. It’s one thing to say you did something well, but it’s even better to explain how you did it and what the results were.

For example, if you supervised and trained nurses, mention how many were under your supervision at one time.

Nurse practitioner jobs hiring right now

There are many nurse practitioner jobs on the market. Let’s take a look at some positions to help you begin your job search.

Nurse practitioner

A general nurse practitioner is a healthcare provider that usually specializes in a specific field like oncology or gerontology.

They usually work in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Depending on the state, they could be your primary care provider, diagnosing conditions and prescribing medications.

Find nurse practitioner jobs on Jobcase.

Dermatology nurse practitioner

This type of nurse practitioner specializes in dermatology. They educate patients on how to care for their skin and treat skin conditions.

Find dermatology nurse practitioner jobs on Jobcase.

Acute care nurse practitioner

An acute care nurse practitioner provides short-term care, treating specific episodes and injuries. They tend to work with more serious injuries that require immediate attention.

Find acute care nurse practitioner jobs on Jobcase.

Palliative care nurse practitioner

Palliative care nurses provide patients with specialized medical care focusing on pain relief caused by an illness.

Find palliative care nurse practitioner jobs on Jobcase.

Cardiology nurse practitioner

This type of nurse practitioner specializes in providing care to patients diagnosed with cardiac disease.

Find cardiology nurse practitioner jobs on Jobcase.

Orthopedic nurse practitioner

Orthopedic nurse practitioners provide care to patients suffering from musculoskeletal problems.

Find orthopedic nurse practitioner jobs on Jobcase.

Land a nurse practitioner job today

If you’re a registered nurse looking for your next career move, advancing to a nurse practitioner position could be for you.

You’ll have to get a specialized education, but the benefits are worth it. You’ll enjoy a higher salary, more specialized and in-depth work, and a great career outlook.

You can find more tips for job seekers searching for a career in nursing by visiting Jobcase’s Getting Hired Resource Center.



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