Nurse practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice registered nurses who provide care to patients throughout the lifespan, from premature newborns to the elderly.
They perform comprehensive and focused physical examinations; diagnose and treat common acute illnesses and injuries; provide immunizations; manage high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and other chronic health problems; order and interpret diagnostic tests such as X-rays and EKGs, as well as laboratory tests; prescribe medications and therapies; perform procedures; and educate and counsel patients and their families regarding healthy lifestyles and health care options.
NPs can prescribe medications, including controlled substances, in all 50 states. In 26 states, NPs have authority to practice independently. (source: Explore Health Careers)
Learning More About Nurse Practitioner Careers:
To learn more about becoming an NP, visit American Association of Colleges of Nursing Student Page and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. For a list of accelerated nursing programs, for applicants who have a baccalaureate in another field, see AACN Accelerated Nursing Programs.
Academic Requirements and Prerequisites:
Becoming a Registered Nurse is the first step in becoming a Nurse Practitioner. There are a number of different paths to becoming an RN, including community college/Associate Degree programs, Bachelor’s of Science degree programs, stand alone RN direct-entry post-bachelor’s programs, and pass-through RN programs that are a part of an accelerated MSN program. Explore Health Careers is a good resource to begin to decide the best direction for your path.
Unlike medical schools, there isn’t a common core of classes that should be taken as prerequisites for nursing Programs. Programs typically require coursework such as Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Statistics, and Microbiology. Some programs may require that you take an entrance exam such as the GRE. When considering nursing it’s a good idea to put together a spreadsheet of schools of interest with columns for required prerequisite classes and GPA requirements. Then, meet with your major advisor to figure out where you will fit these classes into your program.
The Northeastern University Career Development Office can assist you with your Graduate School application.