A nurse practitioner is a type of advanced practice registered nurse who helps diagnose and treat patients. Aspiring nurse practitioners usually pursue a nursing master's degree, although dual bachelor's and master's degree programs do exist. These programs allow students to specialize in such fields as family, pediatric, neonatal, or gerontological nursing. Before beginning a nurse practitioner program, one usually must have already earned a bachelor's degree and registered nurse credentials. Clinical nursing experience is another common prerequisite for admission.
After completing core courses, students take courses in their preferred specialty. They also do a practicum in which they apply what they have learned as they work with patients. Graduates usually have to get certified to work in their state as a nurse practitioner. Certification in a specialty area may also be necessary for licensure.
Nurse practitioner courses provide training in the following areas:
- Research methodologies and case studies
- Healthcare statistics and data sampling
- Ethics and policy development in healthcare
- Physiology and gross anatomy analysis
- Pathophysiology and pharmacology applications
List of Courses
This course examines pathophysiology, which is used to diagnose and treat illness in primary health care contexts. Students examine factors affecting health and illness. Students learn about disease origination, development, and symptoms. They also learn how to treat common health conditions. Pathophysiology courses can be taken at the beginning of a nurse practitioner program as a foundation for future courses.
Roles and Responsibilities
This course covers the roles and responsibilities of the nurse practitioner in augmenting client health and health services. Students examine the history of nurse practitioners, client relations, as well as legal and ethical considerations. Aspiring nurse practitioners learn about interdisciplinary teams, health policy formation, and political strategies. This course can sometimes be incorporated into other courses in the program.
Taken towards the end of a nurse practitioner program, students learn about the therapeutic uses and effects of drugs for primary health care. Students learn about common medications and explore adverse effects and alternatives to drug therapy. Students learn how to write prescriptions that meet state and federal standards.
Advanced Assessment and Diagnostic
Nurse practitioners assume many of the duties of a physician, including assessing and diagnosing health issues. The course places emphasis on assessment procedures, including history taking, physical assessment and diagnostic testing. Students use pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology knowledge in this course.
In the practicum, aspiring nurse practitioners practice the skills they learned in didactic courses in clinical settings. Students discuss and apply theories about the management of patients, and they practice taking a leadership role in healthcare settings. All nurse practitioner program courses must be successfully completed before taking this course. Completion of the practicum is the final component of the nurse practitioner program.