Nurse Practitioner Job Description, Duties and Responsibilities

Working as a nurse practitioner requires significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure to see if this is the right career for you. View article »

View 10 Popular Schools »

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

94% college-bound high school students
…said it was important to communicate with colleges during the search process. (Source: Noel-Levitz 2012 trend study)

Select a school or program

    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Executive Leader Specialization
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path
    • Master of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Family Nurse Practitioner Specialization
    • Accelerated BSN to MSN
    • MS in Nursing - Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    • MS in Nursing
    • Master of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Specialization
    • Master of Healthcare Administration
    • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN
    • BS in Health Science
    • BS in Healthcare Administration
    • Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate
    • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
    • Nurse Educator Graduate Certificate
    • View all programs
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    • MBA and MS in Nursing - Leadership in Health Care Systems
    • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (dual degree)
    • MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
    • M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Education
    • MBA: Health Systems Management
    • MS in Health Care Administration
    • BS in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to BSN)
    • BS in Health Care Administration
    • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
    • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
    • View all programs
View More Schools
Show Me Schools
 Replay
  • 0:00 Essential Information
  • 0:57 Job Description
  • 1:33 Duties & Responsibilities

Find the perfect school

Video Transcript

Essential Information

Degree Level master's degree; PhD for psychiatric nurse practitioner positions
Degree Field(s) Nurse practitioner graduate program
License/Certification Licensure as a registered nurse is required to enter the program; nurse practitioner license is required to obtain a position
Experience Clinical experience required before completing nurse practitioner program
Key Skills Compassion; medical aptitude; communication and problem-solving skills
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 35% increase*
Median Annual Salary (2015) $98,190*

*Source: BLS

Nurse practitioners are one type of advanced practice registered nurse. They may serve their patients as primary care providers, and day-to-day duties are very similar to those of doctors in their field or specialty. Individuals who are interested in becoming a nurse practitioner must first earn a bachelor's degree and secure licensure as a registered nurse. After gaining some clinical experience, the registered nurse must then complete a master's program and pass a state-administered nurse practitioner licensing exam.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities are very good for nurse practitioners. Between 2014 and 2024, an additional 44,700 positions are predicted to become available, which is a 35% increase. In addition, the median salary for nurse practitioners as of May 2015 was $98,190.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Clinical Nursing
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Direct-Entry Midwifery - LM, CPM
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Neonatal Nursing
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Assistant or Patient Care Assistant
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
  • Nursing Science
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Operating Room and Surgical Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Public Health Nurse or Community Nurse
  • Registered Nurse

Job Description

A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse that helps with all aspects of patient care, including diagnosis, treatments and consultations. They may work in both inpatient and outpatient situations and can perform independently or as part of a treatment team. Generally, nurse practitioners perform the important task of educating patients about preventative care and prescribed treatments. They may also conduct physicals, order tests and serve as a patient's primary healthcare provider. Some nurse practitioners are also able to prescribe medications.

Duties and Responsibilities

Although there are common duties and responsibilities for all nurse practitioners, they generally vary by specialty. Specialties include primary care, pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology and psychiatric care.

Primary care nurse practitioners are generalists who work in family health clinics or hospitals. They provide general and preventative care, conduct check-ups, treat illnesses, order lab tests and prescribe medication for children and adults.

Many pediatric nurse practitioners work in consultation with doctors in a children's ward. Some deal exclusively with neonates, while others concentrate on older children, up to age 18, in the pediatric ward. In some work situations, pediatric nurse practitioners maintain their own patients and make decisions about necessary treatment.

Duties of a geriatric nurse practitioner include care, treatment, and counseling for elderly patients and their families. Often, after assisting doctors in determining appropriate treatment, geriatric nurse practitioners are responsible for designing an exercise program for recovering patients.

After diagnosis and consultation on the treatment regimen of cancer patients, the oncology nurse practitioner may advise the patient about possible participation in clinical trials. The follow-up, monitoring, and recording of the process is one of the main responsibilities of the oncology nurse practitioner. Results of trial participation are entered into research conclusions and are often published.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners often hold a Ph.D. They may act as therapists and also prescribe appropriate medications. Although not authorized to conduct psychological testing, they regularly work closely with psychologists and psychiatrists in reviewing test results and determining a course of action.

Nurse practitioners can work in a variety of healthcare specialties and will enjoy strong job prospects over the next decade, but the position requires several college degrees and a significant amount of training.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Executive Leader Specialization
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path
    • Master of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Family Nurse Practitioner Specialization
    • Accelerated BSN to MSN
    • MS in Nursing - Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    • MS in Nursing
    • Master of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Specialization
    • Master of Healthcare Administration
    • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN
    • BS in Health Science
    • BS in Healthcare Administration
    • Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate
    • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
    • Nurse Educator Graduate Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    • MBA and MS in Nursing - Leadership in Health Care Systems
    • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (dual degree)
    • MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
    • M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Education
    • MBA: Health Systems Management
    • MS in Health Care Administration
    • BS in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to BSN)
    • BS in Health Care Administration
    • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
    • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    • M.S. in Nursing (MSN) - Nurse Leadership & Management
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
    • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
    • M.S. in Nursing (MSN) - Nurse Educator
    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
    • B.S. in Professional Studies - Nursing Home Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Administration
    • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Educaiton
    • RN to BSN

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Advanced Practice Nurse
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Executive Nursing Leadership
    • MBA - Healthcare Administration
    • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Transitional Doctorate of Physical Therapy
    • RN to BSN

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
    • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
    • MSHS in Translational Microbiology

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    • Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    • Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Computed Tomography
    • Associate of Science in Health Science

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Science in Nursing: Undecided
    • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Administrator
    • Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader
    • Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader Certificate
    • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Educator

    What is your highest level of education completed?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?