I enjoyed Mr. Mitchell’s article on the physician shortage and agreed with many of his points, however, I wanted to clarify the educational requirements for a nurse practitioner. A bachelor’s degree in nursing is approximately four to five years including prerequisites. A master’s degree in nursing is approximately two years, with an additional one to two years to complete the post-master’s Nurse Practitioner Certificate. This is approximately seven to eight years by the current standards. In 2015, the entry level nurse practitioner will have completed a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) which is approximately an additional two to three years, which raises the overall requirement to eleven to twelve years. Additionally, Board exams are required for both registered nurse and nurse practitioner.
The education content for nurse practitioners is different from that of physicians, but the professional expectations for taking care of patients are the same. Nurse practitioners care for patients, manage diseases, perform screenings, order diagnostic tests, write prescriptions, and promote wellness using a holistic philosophy. The goal for all providers should be to provide access to high quality patient care for everyone including rural and urban areas.
Dr. Scott W. Lamprecht, APRN, RN
President, Nevada Nurses Association