A nurse and a nurse practitioner might seem to be the same when you’re sitting on an exam table. You likely don’t care about the title of those taking care of you as long as they can make you feel better. As caring and giving as a nurse is, as a nurse practitioner, you will be able to offer more to many of your patients because of your specialized training.
There are differences between a nurse and a nurse practitioner that could help you decide which path you want to take when choosing a career. Consider these things in your search for how to become a nurse practitioner.
What Are Your Long-Term Goals in Healthcare?
Where do you see yourself five years from now? Ten years from now? Twenty years from now? Your educated decision today can make a big difference in where you are down the road and certainly what you’ll be wearing to work daily.
Nursing is one of the most sought-after careers in the world. Honing your knowledge in nursing to the level of a nurse practitioner can help you to fulfill your dreams of serving more people on a more specialized basis.
Do You Enjoy Being a Student?
Ongoing education can benefit most any career path. Healthcare is an industry in which there is always something new and innovative to learn to take better care of your patients and help you to become a more compassionate and skilled health provider.
Part of how to become a nurse practitioner means attending school longer to become more specialized in your field. A portion of your additional training will be out in the world with patients on a hands-on basis, but there will still be much learning in the classroom. Can you see yourself completing more time as a student to achieve your dream of becoming a nurse practitioner? How do you feel when you think about more flashcards, study groups and lectures on top of your day-to-day work as a nurse?
More Flexibility for Work/Life Balance
A career as a nurse practitioner can allow you the flexibility you crave for work/life balance. Even when you work in a career you love, you still need to carve out time for family, friends and downtime for yourself. Some of the flexibility in your career as a nurse practitioner can enhance your work/life balance.
Working from home is becoming more important to people in many types of work, and medicine is no different. Working from home and offering your services through telemedicine via phone or video can save you time spent on long commutes, travel costs and childcare considerations. It can also help keep you, your family and your patients safer during times of health crises like COVID.
As a nurse practitioner, you could have the ability to make your own hours. You could potentially choose the days and hours you work each week. Planning for vacations, time off to enjoy life or a visit to the dentist would be up to you instead of requesting time off that might not be approved.
Give Back through Teaching
Many nurse practitioners choose to go into teaching. Not only could you use your skills in working with patients, but you could teach others what you have learned on your journey to becoming a nurse practitioner.
Choose Your Own Dress Code
Do you envision your workday wearing comfy scrubs, business casual attire or a white coat to see patients? When you work for yourself as a nurse practitioner, you can make wardrobe decisions that you can alter as your mood and the situation allow.
Working as a family nurse practitioner (FNP) would likely have you working with patients of all ages. You have a choice of many designs and styles of scrubs and dresses to accommodate movements during your day.
If you’re a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP), perhaps the movable fabric of scrubs with whimsical patterns would suit you. Today’s scrubs offer jogger scrub pants and scrub tops for women in fabric, colors and flexibility that can help make seeing your patients a physically comfortable experience.
Make More Money
The salary of a nurse practitioner is significantly higher than that of a nurse. Your hard work and education could be paid for with the money you make after graduating as a nurse practitioner. Your salary would depend on several factors, some of which would include where you work, your specialty and where you live.
The Decision to Become a Nurse Practitioner Is Yours
Your search for how to become a nurse practitioner can lead to one of the most important decisions of your life. The process will require critical thinking combined with your aptitude for compassion and the need to care for others. Consider your options and what you have to gain when you take this leap.