A certified family nurse practitioner is able to provide a superior level of care to her patients. Nurse practitioners are able to perform many of the same responsibilities as doctors and can even have a private practice in some states. Many nurses dream of becoming nurse practitioners someday and wonder if their clinical experience will allow them to become one. To answer this question, we will need to look at all the requirements for becoming a certified nurse practitioner. 

1. Earn an Undergraduate Nursing Degree

Earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing is an important first step in becoming a nurse practitioner. It will give you a solid, well-rounded educational background that will be vitally important if you want to be able to write prescriptions and diagnose diseases someday. Nurses who only have associate degrees should consider earning their full BSN if they hope to become nurse practitioners in the future.

2. Work as a Registered Nurse

After completing your undergraduate nursing degree and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, you can get a job as a registered nurse. This is the time for you to work on the non-academic qualities that are essential for becoming a certified family nurse practitioner. According to Explore Health.com, nurse practitioners must possess many character qualities in order to complete the requirements and be successful in their practice.

3. Earn an Advanced Degree in Nursing

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, all nurse practitioners must complete either a master’s or a doctorate degree. Your graduate nursing program will give you the chance to specialize in acute care, pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology, or one of many other specialties. Most graduate nursing programs will not accept applicants with less than one year’s experience working as a registered nurse. Some schools may require more. In addition, certain specialties may require you to have a certain type of experience. For example, someone wanting to specialize in obstetrics may be required to have experience working as a maternity care nurse.

4. Seek Certification as a Nurse Practitioner

According to AANP, nurse practitioners “undergo rigorous national certification, periodic peer review, clinical outcome evaluations, and adhere to a code for ethical practices.” While all nurse practitioners must meet certain criteria in order to be certified, the requirements for obtaining a nurse practitioner’s license varies significantly from state to state. In addition, many states require nurse practitioners to take continuing education courses in order to maintain their license. Research the laws of your state or contact the American Association of Nurse Practitioners for more information.

While clinical experience as a nurse is an important step in becoming a certified family nurse practitioner, you will also need to earn a master’s degree. Nurse practitioners are required to go through rigorous preparation in order to obtain their license, but it is time well spent. A certified family nurse practitioner enjoys a deeply fulfilling career as she is able to provide holistic healthcare to her patients and make a positive impact on her community.