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Nursing is quite a fine profession. The demand is high, financial benefit is higher than average, health coverage is great, just like in any medical profession, and and other equally important benefits, such as helping others. One specialty that may not be so obvious to those not from medical field is Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.
Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners work in a variety of settings, including primary care facilities, outpatient mental health clinics, hospitals, psychiatric institutions, among others. Those with higher level of education and above average experience in the field may also be hired as consultants and instructors at educational institutions. These NPs work with children, adults families of patients with psychiatric conditions.
Along with nurse practitioners from other specialties and physicians, psychiatric NPs may collaborate develop a series of treatment plans for each of their patients. It is these instances where NPs often work independently, taking over the duties of a physician to some extent.
In order to become an Advanced Practice Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), one has to earn bachelor’s degree in nursing and then enter Masters Degree nurse practitioner program specializing in Psychiatric nursing. It should be noted that a candidate applying for a masters program, will already have considerable clinical experience. Therefore, in all practical sense, it may take ten years or more after first enrolling in bachelor’s nursing program, until a nurse earns his or her nurse practitioner degree.
Once an individual earns their Nurse Practitioner degree specializing in Psychiatry, he or she may then focus on a particular area of the specialty. For example, adult psychiatry, pediatric psychiatry, addiction medicine, etc.
As with nearly any other nursing career choice or specialty, Psychiatric nurse practitioners have a wide range of options to choose from. They may choose to work in a clinical setting, such as a hospital, primary care along with a physician, or they may choose to work as consultants, and finally graduates of nurse practitioner programs may enter academia and become educators.
It should be noted that students of nurse practitioner programs are usually employed full time and go to school full or part time. Such demanding study/work schedule makes it extremely difficult to manage. Focusing studies on a specific area allows for NP program students to gain knowledge related to their specialty of choice, while avoiding unrelated courses that would prolong their study time to perhaps 4 years.
Below is a list of specialties nurses entering NP programs may choose from
* Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
* Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
* Family Nurse Practitioner
* Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist
* Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
* Occupational Health/Family Nurse Practitioner
* School/Family Nurse Practitioner
* Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
* Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
* Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
With such a great variety of specialties available, future NPs will have plenty of opportunity to get involved with specialty that most closely matches their interests and talents. Such arrangement ensures that future Nurse Practitioners provide a cutting edge healthcare to their patients.
Click here for more information about Nurse Practitioner Programs
The first nurse practitioners earned their degree in 1965, the new profession was created in response to a country-wide shortage of physicians. Since that time, nurse practitioner programs have been established throughout the country producing nearly 9,000 new NPs every year and joining the 140,000 population of practicing NPs.
Much like in other medical fields, upon earning their degree, nurse practitioners may choose to enter a specialty nurse practitioner program. These programs are offered throughout the country at a number of locations.
[box type="info"] Annually, nurse practitioners provide medical services to over 600,000 patient visits[/box]