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Bariatric Nurse Practitioner: Job Description, Salary & Certification

Jan 30, 2018

Nurse practitioners provide primary care to patients and perform many tasks that doctors can perform. Those who specialize as bariatric nurse practitioners are responsible for treating patients that are overweight.

Career Definition of a Bariatric Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners are nurses with advanced training that qualifies them to diagnose and treat patients. Unlike registered nurses, nurse practitioners are qualified to order medical tests, prescribe medication to patients and refer patients to specialists. Bariatric nurse practitioners have specialized training to treat patients with serious weight issues.

Since their patients are significantly overweight the bariatric nurse practitioner's role often involves working in a hospital and monitoring patients after they have had bariatric surgery. They may consult with surgeons and other physicians if they have concerns about their patient's progress. Other bariatric nurse practitioners work in clinics or medical offices where they provide ongoing treatment to patients. Whether they work in a hospital or a clinic their role involves teaching patients how to improve their lifestyle so that they can lose weight and maintain weight loss. They work with their patients to identify specific goals, develop treatment plans to reach those goals and monitor their patients' progress.

Educational Requirements Master's degree, license, certification
Job Skills Compassion, patience, attention to detail, teamwork skills, leadership skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, tact
Median Salary (2016)* $100,910 (all nurse practitioners)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 36% (all nurse practitioners)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

All nurse practitioners are required to have a master's degree in nursing. They must also have a valid nursing license. Nurse practitioners must also be certified and have Basic Life Support training. Once they have earned these credentials they can pursue additional training to become a certified bariatric nurse practitioner. They must pass another exam to earn this certification.

Required Skills

Since people are often sensitive about their weight it is important for bariatric nurse practitioners to have tact and be sensitive so that they can build a good working relationship with their patients. They also need strong communication and interpersonal skills because they must interact regularly with patients and other medical professionals. Leadership skills are important because they may lead weight loss programs and they need to be able to effectively motivate their patients.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides information for all nurse practitioners. This listing includes bariatric nurse practitioners. The BLS reports that as of 2016, nurse practitioners were taking home an annual median salary of $100,910. According to the BLS, the anticipated average job growth rate for all occupations from 2016 to 2026 will be 7%. The BLS forecasts that nurse practitioners will outpace average growth rates and see a 36% increase in jobs during this same ten-year period.

Related Careers

Learn more about what anesthesiologist assistants, certified registered nurse anesthetists, clinical dieticians and neonatology physician assistants do through the links listed here. These medical careers may also appeal to those considering a future as a bariatric nurse practitioner because they involve comparable training and treating patients.

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