Nurse Practitioners

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Job Outlook:
Much faster than average
Education: Master's degree
Salary
High: $165,240.00
Average: $124,680.00
Hourly
Average: $59.94

What they do:

Diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a healthcare team. May focus on health promotion and disease prevention. May order, perform, or interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and x rays. May prescribe medication. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.

On the job, you would:

  • Maintain complete and detailed records of patients' health care plans and prognoses.
  • Develop treatment plans, based on scientific rationale, standards of care, and professional practice guidelines.
  • Provide patients with information needed to promote health, reduce risk factors, or prevent disease or disability.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Advanced practice registered nurses have to be able to communicate with patients and other healthcare professionals to ensure the appropriate course of action.

Critical-thinking skills. APRNs must be able to assess changes in a patient’s health, quickly determine the most appropriate course of action, and decide if a consultation with another healthcare professional is needed.

Compassion. APRNs should be caring and sympathetic when treating patients.

Detail oriented. APRNs need to be thorough in providing treatments and medications that affect their patients’ health. During an evaluation, they must notice even small changes in a patient’s condition.

Interpersonal skills. APRNs must work with patients and families as well as with other healthcare providers and staff. They work as part of a team to determine and execute healthcare options for the patients they treat.

Leadership skills. APRNs often work in positions of seniority. They must effectively direct and sometimes manage other nurses on staff when providing patient care.

Resourcefulness. APRNs should know where to find the answers that they need.

Personality

A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

96% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
95% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
95% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
94% Concern for Others  -  Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
88% Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
87% Stress Tolerance  -  Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
86% Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
85% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
85% Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
83% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
83% Achievement/Effort  -  Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
81% Independence  -  Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
77% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
76% Leadership  -  Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
73% Social Orientation  -  Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Strengths

89% Social  -  Work involves helping, teaching, advising, assisting, or providing service to others. Social occupations are often associated with social, health care, personal service, teaching/education, or religious activities.
83% Investigative  -  Work involves studying and researching non-living objects, living organisms, disease or other forms of impairment, or human behavior. Investigative occupations are often associated with physical, life, medical, or social sciences, and can be found in the fields of humanities, mathematics/statistics, information technology, or health care service.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Values of the Work Environment

95% Relationships  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
78% Achievement  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
78% Support  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
78% Independence  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
75% Working Conditions  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
67% Recognition  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Aptitude

A3 Your Strengths Importance

Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

81% Problem Sensitivity  -  The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
81% Written Comprehension  -  The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
81% Inductive Reasoning  -  The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
78% Deductive Reasoning  -  The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
78% Written Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
78% Near Vision  -  The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
78% Oral Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
75% Speech Clarity  -  The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
75% Information Ordering  -  The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
75% Speech Recognition  -  The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
75% Oral Comprehension  -  The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Skills | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

70% Reading Comprehension  -  Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
70% Active Listening  -  Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
66% Social Perceptiveness  -  Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Job Details

Responsibilities
Train patients, family members, or caregivers in techniques for managing disabilities or illnesses.
Schedule patient procedures or appointments.
Advise patients on effects of health conditions or treatments.
Analyze test data or images to inform diagnosis or treatment.
Operate diagnostic imaging equipment.
Order medical diagnostic or clinical tests.
Analyze test data or images to inform diagnosis or treatment.
Diagnose medical conditions.
Treat acute illnesses, infections, or injuries.
Diagnose medical conditions.
Treat chronic diseases or disorders.
Diagnose medical conditions.
Treat medical emergencies.
Refer patients to other healthcare practitioners or health resources.
Treat acute illnesses, infections, or injuries.
Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
Refer patients to other healthcare practitioners or health resources.
Monitor patient conditions during treatments, procedures, or activities.
Develop medical treatment plans.
Immunize patients.
Apply bandages, dressings, or splints.
Treat acute illnesses, infections, or injuries.
Examine patients to assess general physical condition.
Prescribe medications.
Communicate detailed medical information to patients or family members.
Prescribe treatments or therapies.
Provide health and wellness advice to patients, program participants, or caregivers.
Prescribe medications.
Advise patients on healthcare system processes.
Record patient medical histories.
Maintain medical or professional knowledge.
Maintain medical or professional knowledge.
Maintain medical or professional knowledge.
Follow protocols or regulations for healthcare activities.
Supervise patient care personnel.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent

100% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
100% Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
99% Electronic Mail  -  How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
95% Exposed to Disease or Infections  -  How often does this job require exposure to disease/infections?
94% Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
94% Contact With Others  -  How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
93% Freedom to Make Decisions  -  How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
89% Frequency of Decision Making  -  How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
89% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
86% Indoors, Environmentally Controlled  -  How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
85% Consequence of Error  -  How serious would the result usually be if the worker made a mistake that was not readily correctable?
84% Physical Proximity  -  To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
84% Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets  -  How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
84% Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results  -  What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
83% Structured versus Unstructured Work  -  To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
82% Deal With External Customers  -  How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
77% Time Pressure  -  How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
77% Coordinate or Lead Others  -  How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
73% Responsible for Others' Health and Safety  -  How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
68% Letters and Memos  -  How often does the job require written letters and memos?
76% Duration of Typical Work Week  -  Number of hours typically worked in one week.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

94% Documenting/Recording Information  -  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
91% Making Decisions and Solving Problems  -  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
89% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
88% Assisting and Caring for Others  -  Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
86% Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge  -  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
84% Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events  -  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
82% Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships  -  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
82% Analyzing Data or Information  -  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
81% Processing Information  -  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
81% Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others  -  Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
80% Working with Computers  -  Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
79% Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
78% Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards  -  Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
77% Performing for or Working Directly with the Public  -  Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
76% Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work  -  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
74% Training and Teaching Others  -  Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
73% Providing Consultation and Advice to Others  -  Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
72% Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings  -  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
69% Communicating with People Outside the Organization  -  Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
69% Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People  -  Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
68% Developing and Building Teams  -  Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
66% Coaching and Developing Others  -  Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

What Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners Do

nurse anesthetists nurse midwives and nurse practitioners image
APRNs give patients medicines and treatments.

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, also referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), coordinate patient care and may provide primary and specialty healthcare. The scope of practice varies from state to state.

Duties

Advanced practice registered nurses typically do the following:

  • Take and record patients' medical histories and symptoms
  • Perform physical exams and observe patients
  • Create patient care plans or contribute to existing plans
  • Perform and order diagnostic tests
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Diagnose various health problems
  • Analyze test results or changes in a patient’s condition and alter treatment plans, as needed
  • Give patients medicines and treatments
  • Evaluate a patient’s response to medicines and treatments
  • Consult with doctors and other healthcare professionals, as needed
  • Counsel and teach patients and their families how to stay healthy or manage their illnesses or injuries
  • Conduct research

APRNs work independently or in collaboration with physicians. In most states, they can prescribe medications, order medical tests, and diagnose health problems. APRNs may provide primary and preventive care and may specialize in care for certain groups of people, such as children, pregnant women, or patients with mental health disorders.

APRNs have some of the same duties as registered nurses, including gathering information about a patient’s condition and taking action to treat or manage the patient’s health. However, APRNs are trained to do other tasks, including ordering and evaluating test results, referring patients to specialists, and diagnosing and treating ailments. APRNs focus on patient-centered care, which means understanding a patient’s concerns and lifestyle before choosing a course of action.

Some APRNs also conduct research or teach staff about new policies or procedures. Others may provide consultation services based on a specific field of knowledge, such as oncology, which is the study of cancer.

The following are types of APRNs:

Nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) administer anesthesia and provide care before, during, and after surgical, therapeutic, diagnostic, and obstetrical procedures. They also provide pain management and some emergency services. Before a procedure begins, nurse anesthetists discuss with a patient any medications the patient is taking as well as any allergies or illnesses the patient may have, so that anesthesia can be safely administered. Nurse anesthetists then give a patient general anesthesia to put the patient to sleep so they feel no pain during surgery or administer a regional or local anesthesia to numb an area of the body. During the procedure, they monitor the patient’s vital signs and adjust the anesthesia as necessary.

Nurse midwives (CNMs) provide care to women, including gynecological exams, family planning services, and prenatal care. They deliver babies, manage emergency situations during labor, repair lacerations, and may provide surgical assistance to physicians during cesarean births. Nurse midwives may act as primary maternity care providers for women. They also provide wellness care, educating their patients on how to lead healthy lives by discussing topics such as nutrition and disease prevention. Nurse midwives also provide care to their patients’ partners for sexual or reproductive health issues.

Nurse practitioners (NPs) serve as primary and specialty care providers, delivering advanced nursing services to patients and their families. They assess patients, determine how to improve or manage a patient’s health, and discuss ways to integrate health promotion strategies into a patient’s life. Nurse practitioners typically care for a certain population of people. For instance, NPs may work in adult and geriatric health, pediatric health, or psychiatric and mental health.

Although the scope of their duties varies by state, many nurse practitioners work independently, prescribe medications, and order laboratory tests. Nurse practitioners consult with physicians and other health professionals when needed.

See the profile on registered nurses for more information about clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), also considered to be a type of APRN.

Work Environment

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners held about 323,900 jobs in 2022. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners was distributed as follows:

Nurse practitioners 266,300
Nurse anesthetists 49,400
Nurse midwives 8,200

The largest employers of nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners were as follows:

Offices of physicians 47%
Hospitals; state, local, and private 25
Outpatient care centers 9
Offices of other health practitioners 4
Educational services; state, local, and private 3

Some advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) provide care in patients’ homes. Some nurse midwives work in birthing centers, which are a type of outpatient care center.

APRNs may travel long distances to help care for patients in places where there are not enough healthcare workers.

Injuries and Illnesses

APRN work can be both physically and emotionally demanding. Some APRNs spend much of their day on their feet. They are vulnerable to back injuries because they must lift and move patients. APRN work can also be stressful because they make critical decisions that affect a patient’s health.

Because of the environments in which they work, APRNs may come in close contact with infectious diseases. Therefore, they must follow strict guidelines to guard against diseases and other dangers, such as accidental needle sticks or patient outbursts.

Work Schedules

Most APRNs work full time. In physicians’ offices, APRNs typically work during normal business hours. In hospitals and other healthcare facilities, they may work in shifts—including nights, weekends, and holidays—to provide round-the-clock patient care. Some APRNs, especially those who work in critical care or those who deliver babies, also may need to be on call.

Getting Started

Education:
65%
Master's Degree
26%
Doctoral Degree

How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Midwife, or Nurse Practitioner

nurse anesthetists nurse midwives and nurse practitioners image
APRNs must earn a master’s degree which typically includes clinical experience.

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, also referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), must have at least a master’s degree in their specialty role. APRNs also must be licensed registered nurses in their state, pass a national certification exam, and have a state APRN license.

Education

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners typically need at least a master's degree in an advanced practice nursing field. Accredited healthcare and related programs in these specialties typically include classroom education and clinical experience. Courses in subjects such as advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacology are common as well as coursework specific to the chosen APRN role.

An APRN must have a registered nursing (RN) license before pursuing education in one of the advanced practice roles, and a strong background in science is helpful.

Most APRN programs prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. However, some schools offer bridge programs for registered nurses with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. Graduate-level programs are also available for individuals who did not obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing but in a related health science field. These programs prepare the student for the RN licensure exam in addition to offering the APRN curriculum.

Although a master’s degree is the most common form of entry-level education, APRNs may choose to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Ph.D. The specific educational requirements and qualifications for each of the roles are available on professional organizations’ websites.

Prospective nurse anesthetists must have 1 year of experience working as registered nurse in a critical care setting as a prerequisite for admission to an accredited nurse anesthetist program.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

States’ requirements for APRNs vary. In general, APRNs must have a registered nursing license, complete an accredited graduate-level program, pass a national certification exam, and have an APRN license. Details are available from each state’s board of nursing.

To become licensed and use an APRN title, most states require national certification.

The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) offers the National Certification Examination (NCE). Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) must maintain their certification through the Continued Professional Certification (CPC) Program.

The American Midwifery Certification Board offers the Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM). Individuals with this designation must recertify via the Certificate Maintenance Program.

There are several different certifications for nurse practitioners, including those available from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). Each of these certifications requires periodic renewal.

In addition, APRN positions may require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), basic life support (BLS), or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certification.

Advancement

Some APRNs take on managerial or administrative roles; others go into academia. APRNs who earn a doctoral degree may conduct independent research or work on an interprofessional research team.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners is projected to grow 38 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 29,200 openings for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Projected employment of nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners varies by occupation (see table). Growth will occur because of an increase in the demand for healthcare services. Several factors will contribute to this demand, including an increased emphasis on preventive care and demand for healthcare services from the aging population.

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) perform many of the same services as physicians. APRNs will be increasingly used in team-based models of care, particularly in hospitals, offices of physicians, clinics, and other ambulatory care settings, where they will be needed to provide preventive and primary care.

APRNs will also be needed to care for the large baby-boom population. As baby boomers age, they will experience ailments and complex conditions that require medical care. APRNs will be needed to keep these patients healthy and to treat the growing number of patients with chronic and acute conditions.

As states change their laws governing APRN practice authority, APRNs are being allowed to perform more services. APRNs also are being recognized more widely by the public as a source for primary healthcare.

Contacts for More Information

For more information about nurse anesthetists, including a list of accredited programs, visit

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

For more information about nurse midwives, including a list of accredited programs, visit

American College of Nurse-Midwives

For more information about nurse practitioners, including a list of accredited programs, visit

American Association of Nurse Practitioners

For more information about registered nurses, including credentialing, visit

American Nurses Association

For more information about nursing education and being a registered nurse, visit

National League for Nursing

For more information about undergraduate and graduate nursing education, nursing career options, and financial aid, visit

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

For more information about states’ Boards of Nursing, visit

National Council of State Boards of Nursing

For more information about certification, visit

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

American Midwifery Certification Board

American Nurses Credentialing Center

National Certification Corporation

National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists

Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Audiologists Audiologists

Audiologists diagnose, manage, and treat patients who have hearing, balance, or related problems.

Doctoral or professional degree $82,680
Occupational therapists Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists evaluate and treat people who have injuries, illnesses, or disabilities to help them with vocational, daily living, and other skills that promote independence.

Master's degree $93,180
Physical therapists Physical Therapists

Physical therapists help injured or ill people improve movement and manage pain.

Doctoral or professional degree $97,720
Physician assistants Physician Assistants

Physician assistants examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the supervision of a physician.

Master's degree $126,010
Physicians and surgeons Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses and address health maintenance.

Doctoral or professional degree $229,300
Registered nurses Registered Nurses

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care and educate patients and the public about various health conditions.

Bachelor's degree $81,220
Speech-language pathologists Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists assess and treat people who have communication disorders.

Master's degree $84,140

Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.