Nurse practitioners fill the health care role between registered nurses and physicians. As physicians become more specialized, and a shortage of general practitioners is becoming evident, nurse practitioners are increasingly filling the void. Nurse practitioners can perform physical exams, prescribe treatment and medicine, and have the knowledge and training to be able to refer patients to the appropriate specialist.
Becoming a Nurse Practitioner
Most nurse practitioners who have already pursued a bachelor's degree in nursing and continue on to pursue a master's degree by completing nurse practitioner programs. You may also elect to specialize within the nurse practitioner career field by attending specific areas of study such as psychiatric nurse practitioner programs, neonatal nurse practitioner programs, or pediatric nurse practitioner programs. A typical nurse practitioner program might consist of classroom study combined with intensive laboratory and clinical work. Aspiring nurse practitioners must pass a national examination prior to receiving their license to practice.