Nursing Specialties to Advance Your Career
Wendy J. Meyeroff / Monster Contributing Writer
According to the American College of Nurse Practitioners, there were about 106,000 NPs in the US as of 2004. Even so, NPs are in short supply, especially since they are increasingly finding themselves on the front lines when it comes to providing primary healthcare. Among their responsibilities:
• Conducting physicals.
• Making diagnoses and providing treatment.
• Writing prescriptions (in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia).
• Managing patients’ chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension.
With such diverse duties, NPs, who must hold a master’s degree and a state license as well as be knowledgeable about prescription medications, need to be versatile. They must also be self-reliant since it’s not unusual for them to be an area’s only source of primary care, especially in rural settings.
Salaries for NPs vary but continue to rise. In 2003, the average full-time salary was more than $69,000, according to a salary survey conducted by Advance for Nurse Practitioners. NPs who own their practices can make almost $95,000, but the survey reports that establishing such practices is difficult due to state and legal restrictions and the reluctance of some managed-care organizations to credential NPs. To boost income without establishing a practice of your own, consider specializing in areas such as women’s health or gerontology.