If you want opportunities similar to what a doctor gets but don’t want to go through years and years of medical school, a nurse practitioner degree could be for you. Nurse practitioners, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics explains, can even prescribe medications in most states. They can also diagnose health issues and order tests. However, not everyone is cut out to be a nurse practitioner. Do you have what it takes?
The Desire for Higher Levels of Education
Although working as a nurse practitioner does not require the tremendous effort that medical school does, significant education is still necessary. For instance, you need a bachelor’s degree in nursing in order to enroll in master’s degree programs at schools such as the University of Cincinatti. With the bachelor’s and master’s, you could be looking at six years of schooling after high school.
In some good news, if you love the idea of higher education, you can actually get a doctorate. A Doctor of Nursing Practice degree may let you earn more as a nurse practitioner, and you can teach college-level courses.
A Passion for Certain Areas
Many nurse practitioners prefer to specialize in areas such as pediatrics, women’s health, adult care, emergency care, and much more. Even within these specialties, further focus is possible. For instance, a women’s health nurse practitioner may choose to work primarily with women 65 and older (gerontology), or women who have been diagnosed with cancer. If you have a particular passion or interest in a field, then working as a nurse practitioner can allow you to help quite a few people.
Soft Skills Such as Resourcefulness and Communication
As this article about being a nurse practitioner explains, mothers do a great job in this role. This is because they tend to possess soft skills such as resourcefulness, communication, leadership, critical thinking, and compassion. From dealing with unexpected emergencies with their children to having to navigate the minefield of other parents judging their mothering skills, many aspiring nurse practitioner moms have a head start.
Of course, you do not need to be a mother—or even to be a woman—to succeed in this job. However, the soft skills touched on above as well as other qualities such as internal motivation and an attention to detail will serve you well. A sense of humor is perhaps the most overlooked of these essential skills. Medical care can be a grim job. It is uplifting too, but you will be faced with tragedies, obstacles, and setbacks. Humor helps you get through them.
A Sense of Responsibility
Aspiring nurse practitioners also need a sense of responsibility. They should be aware that they will be held accountable for their decisions, just as doctors are for theirs. Some decisions may result in bad outcomes. Nurses at lower levels are usually tasked with following the orders of doctors and nurse practitioners; they are much less likely to be held responsible if something goes wrong.
Work as a nurse practitioner could be exactly what you need if you have a sense of humor, a sense of responsibility, and great interpersonal skills. A desire for higher education will also serve you well.