The specific requirements for working as a Nurse Practitioner may differ by location and school, but all programs share certain minimum entry standards. Not all registered nurses (RNs) have bachelor’s degrees. Only a nurse with a four-year bachelor’s degree (BS) and a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) is eligible for admission to the programs that will allow her to become a professional nurse. Certification in resuscitation or intensive care nursing may be required for admission to some programs. Additionally, a specific amount of clinical practice in a hospital’s intensive care unit (NICU) is often required to enter PNN programs.
Steps to become a nurse practitioner:
- For the student who knows in advance that he wants to become a nurse practitioner, choosing an MSN program that offers a specialization in advanced nursing is a sensible course of action. A nurse who already holds an MSN but lacks the required nursing courses can earn post-master’s certification by taking the required courses at an approved school. He or she can become a nurse practitioner by passing the necessary board exams. In addition to educational requirements, some employers may require that they have credentials from a recognized professional organization, such as the American Nurse Accreditation Center (ANCC).
- A nurse who has become a nurse practitioner will generally work in the nursery of a hospital or special practice center. You will practice under the direct supervision of a neonatologist and can work at one of three levels. Level 1 provides routine care to well newborns in a regular day care setting. This basic level may be discontinued due to the growing trend for babies to stay in the same room with their mothers and to be cared for by their mothers and other family members.
- Working in level 2 nurseries are in charge of premature babies and those born with relatively minor health problems. While these babies need constant care and may require the use of special equipment and procedures, they are not seriously ill. Level 3 work in the NICU.
- Highly trained Level 3 are responsible for the care of seriously ill newborns and very premature babies. Babies at risk require 24-hour surveillance and specialized care during the first 28 days of their lives, in what is called the period. working at this critical level maintains constant contact with neonatologists and other specialists and provides emotional support and education to the families of infants or newborns while they are in the NICU.
- The job prospects and salaries are usually excellent. Improvements in fertility treatments have led to an increase in the number of preterm and multiple births. These babies are more prone to illness and other physical difficulties that require the specialized care that only a trained nurse can provide.