Bridging the gap between physicians and nurses is the nurse practitioner, an advanced practice nurse with a graduate-level education and an in-depth knowledge of general or specialized medical concerns. The education required to be a nurse practitioner can be attained through online nursing schools, giving nurses the ability to build upon academics provided in many undergraduate nursing school programs. These medical professionals are highly trained and can provide the medical care in many situations, including general practice, midwifery, acute care, pediatrics, geriatrics and more.
The entire medical field is experiencing a shortage as the highly populated Baby Boomer generation begins to retire from medical careers and require the specialized care of medical professionals. This shortage is felt in all areas of medicine, especially nursing, where stress, burnout and other concerns lead to career switching, retirement and an overall lack of qualified professionals to provide care to the injured and ill. Nurse practitioners can ease this void in the medical community through practical and preventative medical care, giving patients the same attention and treatment as a doctor, but with the additional skills and talents of a nurse.
Nurse practitioners can help reduce the costs related to medical care for physicians, clinics and medical offices. Armed the insight of a doctor and the outlook of a nurse, nurse practitioners treat medical issues as well as educate patients about living healthier lives while being bombarded with unhealthy choices. The national incentive to educate the public in terms of better lifestyle choices is a result of health care reform measures across the country. As a benefit of these reforms, more people are able to manage health issues without medical intervention, or prevent those issues entirely; reducing the financial burdens on families, businesses and public health agencies.
For nurses that wish to attain an advanced practice certification as a nurse practitioner, many states are offering incentives that help offset the cost of student loans, or, in some cases, provide financial help for housing and other concerns. Online nursing schools are also becoming favorable education options for nurses, enabling a high-quality education that fits around a busy schedule.
The presence of nurse practitioners in the medical community is increasing, providing medical care, education and support to patients, families and friends. These medical professionals are a solution to the nursing shortage and the rising costs of health care that affect the population daily. For nurses that wish to contribute to the community and attain a level of independence within the career of nursing, the education and training of a nurse practitioner is unrivaled.