A medical professional explains what a nurse practitioner is to a new patient.

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has additional education and training in a specialty area. Nurse practitioners work with other professionals for quality health care. Nurse practitioners have a master's degree in nursing and a certification in their specialty. Licensed nurse practitioners and registered nurses follow the rules and regulations of the Nurse Practice Act of the state they work in.


Nurse practitioners provide health care within their area of specialization and can evaluate a patient's health by recording his or her medical history, performing physical examinations, and ordering and interpreting results of diagnostic tests and procedures. Nurse practitioners can diagnose medical conditions and manage health problems by creating individualized plans, prescribing medications in some states, and obtaining referrals. They can also promote health with teaching and counseling with personalized plans and collaborate with patients, families, and other health care providers to help with care plans.

Work Schedules

Depending on where they work, nurse practitioners' schedules will vary. Some nurse practitioners receive regular schedules, while others receive odd shifts with night or weekend hours. The average hours worked per week is 40. Regardless of your schedule, there may be times you are required to show up to work, but that is with any job.

Job Setting

Nurse practitioners do not just work in hospitals. They work in clinics, offices, pharmaceutical companies, health care research labs, schools, and governmental agencies. Nurse practitioners also deliver care to rural and urban areas, college campuses, work sites, and other locations. Some nurse practitioners also have their own private practices.


Becoming a nurse practitioner requires an advanced education, but there are many benefits that come with having one. There are always new job opportunities, and that will provide you with the knowledge and the skills you need. Career enhancement is another benefit. The role of a nurse practitioner is growing and it is very important. They will play a vital role in the medical industry.

Nurse practitioners also get financial benefits. An advanced education normally results in high-paying positions. Nurse practitioners also get personal fulfillment. Not only will you become more intelligent, but you will also get the satisfaction of helping and saving other people's lives.

Last Updated: November 09, 2016