Welcome to NursePractitionerSchoolGuides.org!
We are dedicated to providing education and career information for up and coming nurse practitioners.

On this nurse practitioner resource website you will find:

  • Information related to the different types of nurse practitioners.
  • General outlines of nurse practitioner programs for prospective students.
  • Nurse practitioner frequently asked questions available for students who are looking for more clarification regarding nurse practitioner programs.
  • Informative nurse practitioner blogs serves to paint an even clearer picture of the profession.

Top Nurse Practitioner Schools & Universities

In the United States, nurse practitioners are some of the most highly sought out professionals in the health care industry. A student must first have earned their registered nurse (RN) degree prior to entering nurse practitioner programs. Earning a master’s degree will provide a nurse practitioner with the ability to work with a higher level of independence than other nurses. Nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat patients just as a doctor does and for that reason, many are hired by hospitals straight out of school. Jobs available for nurse practitioners include but are not limited to community hospitals, doctor’s offices, and instructional facilities. There are also specialized fields which may increase a nurse practitioner’s salary. Deciding which school will provide the best education can often seem difficult but continue reading in order to learn about five of the top nursing schools for this career.

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Washington Monthly ranked the University of Pennsylvania on the list of the top 25 best national universities list in 2011. The U.S. News and World Report also ranked this school at number five in their national university rankings of 2012. Princeton Review also lists this school as one of the best colleges in the Northeast. They are among the best nursing schools in the country hold the highest rank for their pediatric and adult nurse practitioner programs. They hold second as well as third-place for their family nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner programs. They offer master’s degree programs with a variety of specializations with over a dozen minors available as well, making it easy to see why it is considered one of the schools with the best nurse practitioner programs in the country. The University of Pennsylvania also offers advanced practice master degrees through post-doctoral programs.

University of Michigan School of Nursing

Princeton Review rates the University of Michigan as one of the top colleges in the Midwest. In 2011, Washington Monthly also ranked this university in the top ten national universities. This university offers quite a few nurse practitioner programs. They have a degree at the master’s level in parent/child nursing which has a pediatric nurse practitioner track and they also offer an acute care nursing program which has an option for an acute care practitioner route, both are among some of the best nurse practitioner programs in the nation. There are sub-plans in the master’s degree in community health nursing program which include family nurse practitioner and adult nurse practitioner. Both of these are ranked at number four in the nation by the 2011 U.S. News and World Report, list of best nursing schools.

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing made the list of best nursing schools in the 2011 U.S. News and World Report rankings. They have family, pediatric as well as adult programs which have each ranked among the top nurse practitioner programs in the country. They offer master’s degrees which include specialties such as pediatric primary care, family primary care, and also the ability to earn both a nurse practitioner degree along with a master of public health degree. They provide networking opportunities as well as continuing education for many nursing professionals, and students are provided with access to learn at the Johns Hopkins Hospital which is rated among the top three hospitals in the nation. All of these factors combine to make Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing one of the top nurse practitioner programs in the country.

University of Washington School of Nursing

The University of Washington School Of Nursing has held the position as the top nursing school for 27 years according to the U.S. News & World Report. They have several specialty programs which have are included among the best nurse practitioner programs since the beginning of these prestigious rankings. These programs include their graduate program in public and community health nursing, the adult nurse practitioner program, the family nurse practitioner program, the pediatric nurse practitioner program, the psychiatric/mental health clinical, and the nurse midwifery programs. This school is one of the top nursing schools in the nation in funded research which reflects their commitment to improve nursing and health services.

Duke University School of Nursing

The U.S. News & World Report ranked this school in the top nursing schools in the United States. They opened in 1958 which made them the first graduate-level nursing specialist program and they were the first to offer a gerontology master’s program which opened in 1965. Again with another first, this school opened a doctor of nursing practice program in 2008. They were voted the Best School of Nursing for Men in 2010, by the American Assembly for Men in Nursing and the school offers programs which allow students to earn their master’s of science in nursing, their PhD, their Doctor of Nursing degree, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Popular Nurse Practitioner Programs

Family Nurse Practitioner Program

A FNP prepares a nurse to provide basic health care to families in various settings. During this program a student will follow a patient through life using gynecologic, pediatric, obstetric, geriatric and adult primary care management and diagnostic skills.

The range of practice that takes place with a family nurse practitioner comes from the source of a group approach. The family nurse practitioner is an interdependent part of the health care team that is taught the following skills for primary care:

• Educational, therapeutic, and diagnostic care plans
• Physical assessment
• Alliance with doctors and other health care officials
• Referrals to proper health care providers
• Management of health care
• Documentation of family and individual health history

A graduate is eligible to take a certifying exam provided by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Nurses Association. Graduates are typically able to find positions in settings such as hospices, health departments, schools, homeless shelters, private practice programs and more. The following are top schools were family nurse practitioner degree programs are offered:

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program

This program prepares nurses with the skills and knowledge needed in order to meet the health care needs of adolescents, children and infants in the health care system. The programs focus in on evidence based pediatric care that is provided in various pediatric settings.

The PNP option prepares nurses in advanced practice to deliver primary care children while having an emphasis on evaluation, treatment, diagnosis, assessment of the care of families and individuals. The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program prepares a graduate to effectively function as care providers in mutually respectful relationships with those who have significant influence on a child’s health environment.

Graduates of a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program are eligible to pursue national certification as Nurse Practitioner in pediatrics. A graduate is eligible to pursue prescriptive authority (state). Some career opportunities of a PNP included employment in the Armed Forces, home health agencies, physicians offices, community health clinics, Veterans Administration facilities, emergency rooms/urgent care and more.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program

The NNP also know as the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program prepares nurses to meet the needs of infants that are high risk and their family within tertiary care centers. The program prepares the neonatal nurse practitioner to handle a caseload of neonatal patients with collaboration and consultation from a doctor. This program teaches physiology, pharmacology, and pathophysiology which the nurse uses for

assessing, initiation, diagnosis of delegated medical processes, nursing, and procedures. The Neonatal Nurse Practitioner gains knowledge that will enable them to be involved in research, consultation and education. Graduates are employed in setting such as home health services, neonatal intensive care units, managed care organizations, nurse manage clinics and more. The three levels that are in the neonatal nursing specialty include:

• Level I-The care of healthy infants. This level is continuously decreasing as newborns and mother typically stay in the same room.

• Level II-there is a constant demand for these nurses because sick and premature babies require constant attention

• Level III-Nurses work in the NICU monitoring premature or seriously ill babies around the clock.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program

This program prepares an advanced practice nurse to become primary mental health care providers to families and individuals. The focus of this program is in the area of mental health care through an individual’s lifespan having a sub specialty that is available in adolescent psychiatry/child or gerontological/adult psychiatry. The Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner program teaches a nurse to apply psychosocial and neurobiological theories and the ability to use non pharmacological and pharmacological therapies that are needed for mental health care. Nurses learn how to take on the responsibility of Psychiatric Mental Health Care Nurse Practitioner in order to provide collaborative and compassion mental health care for families and clients. This program also teaches nurses how to carry out clinical expertise in treatment, illness prevention, health promotion of individuals with addictive disorders and mental health issues.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Program

The WHNP also known as the Health Nurse Program (Women’s) is a course of study that is advanced and is designed in order to prepare nurse who have previously earned a M.S. in nursing degree for careers in the area of WHNP also known as Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners. This program trains nurses with the ability to provide comprehensive initial health care assistance to women which includes those in their adolescent years all the way to their elderly years, within various health care setting. This program will train Women’s Health Nurse to assess the problems and status of women as it relates to menopause, birth and pregnancy, reproductive health, and additional basic healthcare problems. These nurses will be able to provide continuous care for women who experience stable and acute on going health problems.

Oncology Nurse Practitioner Program

A M.S. degree that has a nurse practitioner and emphasis on oncology provides training and education in courses that involve disease management, ethics, and research. The program may also include advanced practice training in palliative care, cancer care, and community health nursing. There are some nursing schools that offer adult oncology minors that are within the M.S. degree program. The education prerequisites include a bachelor’s degree but it does not necessarily have to be in nursing. Individuals that have associates degrees that are in nursing but have a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field may be required to take some classes prior to beginning the program. An applicant is also required to have an unrestricted and active RN license. Some courses in some oncology nurse practitioner programs include:

• Symptom management and cancer care

• Pathophysiology and epidemiology

• Clinical pharmacology

• Policy and health issues

• The genomics of cancer

Adult Nurse Practitioner Program

The ANP also known as the Adult Nurse Practitioner Programs teaches nurses with advanced practice in the area of primary health care providers how to handle the health of people aged 12 to old age in addition to their families. The emphasis of this program is on the management of chronic and acute illnesses, illness prevention, and health promotion. The Adult Nurse Practitioner program promotes research in the carrying out of quality health care for adults and families and it also provides leadership. The students are taught to take on the responsibilities of and Adult Nurse Practitioner in order to provide health care to adults and families within various settings. They are taught to use the needed resources in order to provide continuous, quality care to adults and their families and how to collaborate with professionals in the health field. They are also given instruction with how to diagnose, assess and manage adult health care needs.

Public Health Nurse Practitioner Program

These programs are purposed for current nurses that want additional skills and knowledge for advancements in employment. The emphasis of public health masters program is the prevention of disease and promotion of health. Students learn to put emphasis on the health needs of the community as a whole rather than just one patient. Students in this program are taught leadership roles in the health care industry and given preparation for the clinical nurse specialist examination. The educational prerequisites for this program vary and depend on the particular institution but an applicant is required to have an associate, diploma or bachelor’s degree. Those that have and associate degree may also need work experience, a resume, references, a fee, MAT and GRE scores. There are separate application made to both the public health department and the nursing department and applicants must receive admission to each of these in order for joint master program enrollment to take place.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Program

The objective of the M.S. Nursing degree with a major in the area of Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist is to provide skills and knowledge to a RN needed in order to practice as a client advocate and professional clinician within the adult population. Upon completion of this program a student will be able to give direct care to clients which includes preventive care and health promotion, prescribing treatments such as non pharmacologic and pharmacologic medicines of health problems, planning, diagnosing, assessing. The students are also taught to comprehend the sub roles of researcher, consultant, educator, leader, expert clinician and be able to act accordingly when called upon.

This program is designed to prepare RNs in three main areas such as health care organizations, nursing practice, patient care. The curriculum includes innovative techniques for patient care, evidence based practice, nursing motivation and leadership, patient safety, health care delivery systems and more.

Nurse Midwifery Program

An education in midwifery requires the student to attain a certain amount of specific competencies but there is no required number of clinical hours or clinical experiences. The design of these programs is to make sure that the student enrolled in the program receive competence before graduation which means a student typically takes anywhere from 500 to 900 clinical hours in their complete midwifery training. The amount of training a student completes depends largely on the attitude the student comes into the midwifery program with. Although many of the nurse practitioner programs are based on the amount of hours a student completes, many midwifery programs target a student’s competency level. Within a midwife education, clinical rotations cover a complete variety of clinical care in which a midwife provides such as primary care, gynecology, postpartum, intrapartum, and prenatal.

Although a student may complete a large range of extensive clinical work within a master’s program, some hospital bylaws require at least 20 to 50 deliveries that have been observed by a physician within certain hospitals.

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program

Acute care nurse practitioners also known as ACNPs have a specialty in acute care nursing but are also a nurse practitioner. These nurses must complete a two to four year nursing degree program and have a license a RN. Most acute care nurse practitioners receive their experience as RNs in acute care prior to coming back to school and earning their advanced degree to become APNs. Acute practitioner nurses are specialized nurses that have doctorate or master’s level training which prepares them to administer services that have been typically delivered by a doctor. In order to earn APN degree individuals need to meet certain requirements such as: Individuals will need to earn a M.S in nursing degree which must include coursework that is specialized in ACNP. Most nursing schools offer this particular degree in a two year program that includes hundreds of hours of clinical study and 40 credit hours of coursework.

Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Program

There is a range of health care needs within the health care field which creates a requirement of different types of care. Because of this need nurses such as Geriatric nurses are composed of different types of nursing professionals. Students enrolled in a geriatric program can choose from different graduate and undergraduate level degree programs. There are many nurses that work in the geriatrics field where they provide foundational bedside care and they also help patients with their everyday activities such as personal hygiene, bathing and dressing. A Geriatric Nurse Practitioneer skill include management, creation of community needs and the resources that are available for improvement of health, screening acute and triage episodic illness, the medical and nursing functioning of typical chronic and acute illnesses in consultation and collaboration with a medical team, health promotion and maintenance, counseling to include patients and their families and more.

What About Online Nurse Practitioner Programs?

Some may opt for continuing education courses at one of the reputable nurse practitioner schools online. Due to the overwhelming demands of most registered nursing professions, prospective students seeking a career as nurse practitioner may enroll into an online nurse practitioner program. An online nurse practitioner program can offer many advantages and disadvantages to the applicant. For instance, nurse practitioner programs online may offer lenient scheduling; however, they may not offer intensive laboratory work that will grant the student experienced in the field. Online nurse practitioner programs may require the prospective student to enroll into a respective internship to acquire the necessary field experience.

In addition, there are many nurse practitioner programs online that may not have obtained accreditation. Non-accredited online nurse practitioner programs can prove detrimental to a graduate’s job hunt; therefore, prospective students are encouraged to conduct more research on the various nurse practitioner programs online to weed out the bad apples. If this search becomes problematic, then most experienced nurse practitioners would advise students to seek a nurse practitioner school that will prove worthwhile in their future endeavors.

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners hold a national board certification, and a state nursing board’s distributed license. Nurse practitioners focus on individualized care. In other words, the nurse practitioner focuses on the patient’s conditions, including the cause and symptoms of the illness. Nurse practitioners ensure preventative, wellness, and education to the patient and his or her family. To elaborate on the latter, nurse practitioners educate patients and their family members on the current status of the patient’s health, and encourage him or her to make healthier choices. In addition to individualized care, nurse practitioners conduct research based on certain illnesses sponsored by patient advocacy groups.

Nurse practitioners treat physical and mental conditions by assessing the patient’s medical history through a series of survey questions, conduct physical exams, and order and interpret diagnostic tests. Therefore, nurse practitioners have the ability to diagnose the underlying illness and then provide the appropriate care according to the patient’s needs, including prescribing medications. Nurse practitioners can function as the patient’s primary healthcare provider, and usually admits patients of all ages, depending on the nurse practitioner’s specialty.

In the United States, nurse practitioners must pass a national board of certification. Nurse practitioners usually have a specialty in one of several healthcare areas, including Family Health, Pediatrics, Neonatology, Gerontology, Women’s Health, Acute Care, Adult Health, Oncology, Psychiatric and Mental Healthcare, Emergency Care, Occupational Health, and more. Nurse practitioners generally work independently or in a collaborative effort with a corresponding healthcare team.

What it Takes to Become a Nurse Practitioner

Prospective students usually obtain a master’s degree or one of the equivalent nurse practitioner programs at the very least to become a nurse practitioner. Strong candidates have established themselves as nationally-recognized registered nurses. A masters of science in nursing degree program usually takes between two and three years to complete. An MSN provides students with the necessary competencies to enter professional healthcare settings with the required nurse practitioner education determined by various agencies. The common curriculum for masters of science in nursing degree programs include promoting health, pathophysiology, pharmacology, and various nursing theories. After obtaining a masters of science in nursing degree, graduates may opt to complete a doctoral program to expand potential career opportunities and expertise.

Nurse practitioner schools usually encourage graduates with an MSN to acquire their Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree. Doctorate of nursing practice degrees teach advanced practices that equip the nurse practitioner to meet the patient’s needs. In addition, nurse practitioners with a doctorate in nursing practice may qualify to become teachers in nursing at a qualified nurse practitioner school. Nurse practitioner schools introduce this common curriculum for doctorate in nursing practice, including population health, leadership, behavior complexity, and capstone projects.

Nurse practitioners must obtain a registered nurse license through the National Council of Examination in order to enroll into any number of nurse practitioner programs. Nurse practitioners have to pass the NCLEX-RN exam in order to obtain the aforementioned credentials. Passing the NCLEX-RN exam is a prerequisite to entering the healthcare industry as a registered nurse. It proves that the candidate has the necessary skills to interact with patients on a daily basis. After completing the registered nursing credentials at one of the accredited nurse practitioner schools, qualifying candidates generally focus on any number of chosen nurse practitioner programs focused on a specialty area for certification in the desired specialty.

Graduates seeking entrance into one of the numerous nurse practitioner programs with a specialty in mind should contact the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Nurses Credentialing Center for more information on the specific nursing certifications needed to complete their credentials. Nurse practitioners must renew these certifications every five years in order to continue with the ever-increasing development within the profession.

Types of Nurse Practitioners

Individuals who are considering the occupation of nurse practitioner have many nurse practitioner programs options available to them. Quality online nurse practitioner programs are ideal for non-traditional students who work full-time and are unable to attend classes. The convenience of taking online nurse practitioner courses at home, as well as the opportunity to learn at one’s own pace, makes online nurse practitioner programs ideal for professionals interested in furthering their education and career.

Why Should I Become a Nurse Practitioner?

A prospective student who has a desire to work with children may want to consider the occupation of pediatric nurse practitioner. The work environments of pediatric nurse practitioners’ include doctor’s offices, clinics, and the pediatric floors of hospitals. A pediatric nurse practitioner works with teenagers and young children as well as infants. They evaluate patients, offer diagnosis, and determine care. There are several pediatric nurse practitioner programs and online nurse practitioner programs that offer courses to students who want to focus in this area.

An individual who has aspirations of working in the area of mental health may want to pursue information about the work of a psychiatric nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner who specializes in psychiatric care is knowledgeable about various therapies that serve patients with mental health needs. Working as a psychiatric nurse practitioner means that an individual may find him or herself treating adults or children. A psychiatric nurse practitioner program prepares students to face the many challenges of working in the mental health. A person considering this field may also want to look at the many nurse practitioner programs online.

Women’s health is an area that appeals to many students who aspire to be nurse practitioners. A women’s health nurse practitioner specializes in the medical issues of women of all ages. A person who is interested in informing, caring for, and treating women in various stages of their lives may want to think about becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner. Within various women’s health nurse practitioner programs there are standard courses that a student may participate in; effective nurse practitioner programs focused on the area of women’s health cover a range of issues that individuals working in the field are likely to encounter.

Once a prospective student decides on an area of nurse practitioner specialization, they can look at the specific educational requirements, as well as the nurse practitioner program options. Regardless of what area of medicine a student decides to pursue, they must possess the education, skills, and practical know-how to serve patients in the best possible way.

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