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What is a Missionary Nurse Practitioner?
A nurse practitioner, or NP, is among a group of nursing professionals referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Since an APRN requires more education beyond a registered nurse (RN) license, they are allowed more autonomy with patients. States in the U.S. may have their differences, but in most areas, an NP can prescribe medications, perform and request medical tests, and make diagnoses.
A missionary NP will typically work outside the United States with churches, non-profit organizations, and humanitarian groups in underdeveloped countries where medical care and resources are scarce.
|Educational Requirements||RN license, master's or doctoral degree, national certification|
|Job Skills||Communication, critical-thinking, foreign language, experience with an underdeveloped country, leadership and management skills, resourcefulness|
|Mean Salary (2018)*||*$110,030 (for NPs in the U.S.)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||36% (for NPs in the U.S.)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Nurse practitioners must earn a master's of science in nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP) from an accredited program. Earning a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is a typical path for those pursuing an NP program, but a bachelor's degree in a related health science field is sufficient, as well, to enter an advanced program where the RN licensure may be earned in addition to the graduate degree. Some schools also offer bridge programs for RN's with an associate's degree or diploma in nursing to obtain an advanced degree. All NP program candidates, however, must have a RN license before advancing to the next level of their education. MSN and DNP programs also have nurse practitioner tracks to focus on certain specialties (pediatric, family, neonatal, women's health, etc.) After the NP program is completed, certification from an accredited nursing board is required.
Gaining education or experience in emergency, pediatrics, infectious diseases, tropical diseases, and/or public health could prove to be very helpful for those pursuing a missionary NP position.
NP's must have superb communication with patients and physicians to guarantee that appropriate care is being met. Speaking a foreign language is not always required, but could be helpful when applying for a missionary position. An NP must have critical-thinking skills and resourcefulness to evaluate symptoms, find a diagnosis and know when to consult with another healthcare professional. Leadership skills are a must, as most missionary NPs will be managing, supervising and training other nurses. Missionary organizations often look for candidates with experience working in an underdeveloped country or relevant experience working in an environment with limited resources.
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that nurse practitioner roles are projected to grow 36 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS also reports that all APRN positions will be sought-after, especially in underprivileged areas. The mean salary for an NP in the US in 2018 is $110,030, said the BLS. A missionary NP will not usually make as much money as an NP in the United States, and some even work on a volunteer basis. Doctors Without Borders, for example, provides housing and a starting monthly salary of $2,039 for fieldworkers, according to the website in 2019.