What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do? And How Do I Become One? (2024)

Whether you’ve been a registered nurse (RN) for years or if you’re a prospective student looking to understand what a career in nursing would entail, you might be wondering what exactly a nurse practitioner (NP) does and what steps are necessary to become one.

What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do?

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, NPs are trained, licensed, and independent health care clinicians who concentrate on managing patients’ health conditions by treating injuries and illnesses, as well as supporting injury and disease prevention. Advanced practice registered nurses who have completed a graduate degree in nursing, in addition to the training and certification required for an NP license, hold significantly more responsibility in the health care field than RNs. In fact, their responsibilities are comparable to those of medical doctors and physician assistants.

Nurse practitioners hold more responsibility than nurses. They’re leaders in health care who conduct research, mentor nurses and staff, and fill the shortage of primary care in the U.S. — ultimately lowering the cost of health care for patients. NPs provide primary care services to patients as well as specialty health care services in numerous areas, such as family health, gerontology, pediatric health, and acute care. Because of the urgent demand for medical professionals, NPs are currently the fastest-growing sector of primary health in the U.S.

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

Becoming a nurse practitioner requires a commitment to the field of nursing and health care, and although the road may not always be easy, it is relatively straightforward. Before becoming an NP, you need to:

  1. Hold a current RN license through your state.
  2. Obtain a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing.
  3. Then obtain national certification in a specified field of nursing practice.

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Who are you called to be?
Pursue your purpose at PLNU.

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Because of the commitment, most people earn their associate degree in nursing or bachelor’s degree in nursing and work as an RN for a few years before pursuing the education necessary to become an NP. It’s not unheard of, however, for a nursing student to advance his or her education further by pursuing a master’s or doctorate degree.

Fortunately, whether you are interested in earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, nursing schools are fully equipped with faculty, staff, and mentors who are well-versed in the nursing practice world and will be able to guide you toward completing your education and obtaining an NP license, making the journey into your new career attainable.

Curious about what a Master of Science in Nursing looks like? Watch our video below.

What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do? And How Do I Become One? (1)

How Health Care is Changing

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. will be facing a shortage of 122,000 medical doctors by 2032, primarily because of the country’s aging population. The lack of medical doctors in rural parts of the U.S., which have higher percentages of residents aged 65 and older, has led more than 24 states to grant authority of full practice to licensed nurse practitioners.

Because nursing practice also focuses on holistic, accessible health care, nurse practitioners are expected to fill this void and reduce overall costs for our health care system and patient populations.

Nursing Practice Career Outlook

Nurse practitioners are rapidly becoming an integral part of our national health care system because they lessen the burden of medical doctors across the country. In California, NPs have restrictions on the care they can provide (they’re required to work under the supervision of a medical doctor), however, NPs in California receive the highest compensation over every other state with an average of $138,000 per year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners across the U.S. earn $115,000 per year on average, out-earning RNs on average by more than $30,000 per year. The field is expected to continue to grow by 26% over the next 10 years.

Patient Care

As a nurse practitioner, your role in patient care will hold much more responsibility than an RN. Although the scope of practice depends on the state you work in, as an NP, you’ll be expected to:

  • Diagnose and treat illnesses infections, and injuries.
  • Perform physical assessments.
  • Prescribe medications (dependent on state regulations).
  • Order tests.
  • Provide general health guidance to your patients.

Studies have shownthat nurse practitioners are especially skilled at listening to their patients' needs and regularly receive incredibly high ratings in patient satisfaction. Spending more time with patients is central to the role of an NP, and it’s because of this practice and the resulting preventative care that patients of NPs have fewer hospital visits than patients of medical doctors.

College Faculty

The career of a nurse practitioner requires extensive education and substantial time in a position of leadership within your hospital, clinic, or other place of work. The rewards from such a career are immense knowledge and experience that can be passed on to future nurses.

With a graduate degree in nursing, NPs may begin teaching at the college level, playing a critical role in continuing the education of many health care workers. Staying in, or returning to, the world of academia is also a common way for NPs to stay up to date with research in the field of nursing, which may provide further opportunities to put their research into practice.

Top 5 Nurse Practitioner Career Options

No matter which career trajectory you choose as a nurse practitioner, the opportunities for job growth will continue on an upward trend — for both traditional and nontraditional routes.

1. Emergency Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary: $122,417

An emergency NP works in a fast-paced environment with patients of all ages needing immediate care. They typically assess patient symptoms and diagnose and treat patients with acute symptoms in hospitals, trauma centers, urgent care, and ambulances.

2. Telehealth (Virtual) Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary: $103,220

Nurse practitioners in virtual health support their patients while simultaneously having more flexibility with their schedules. Typically, a virtual NP will assist patients over the phone, through messaging, or through video chat to perform the following:

  • Patient consults
  • Determine if a patient needs emergency care, an in-person visit, or simply can continue treatment virtually
  • Pre- and post-surgical care
  • Educate patients

With remote services growing in popularity, the need for telehealth NP services is on the rise.

3. Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary: $118,900

An orthopedic NP focuses on caring for patients with musculoskeletal problems — broken bones, osteoporosis, joint replacements, etc. They work with physicians and nurses to support patient care in clinics, nursing homes, physicians’ offices, hospitals, and more. Specialization is also an option.

4. Oncology Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary: $118,768

Oncology NPs work with patients diagnosed with cancer. They have many roles and responsibilities centered around patients and their families. On a day-to-day basis, oncology NPs educate patients, conduct physical exams, manage patient treatment plans, administer therapies, and more.

5. Nursing Professor

Average Salary: $108,004

A nursing professor, as previously mentioned, educates future nurses on the foundational knowledge of nursing. Additionally, nursing professors have the ability to use their firsthand experience to guide future practitioners.

Next Steps to Become an NP

Nurse practitioners help patients in need of care. As an NP, you’ll have numerous options and opportunities to perform this rewarding work in the health care setting to which you feel called, whether that’s teaching at a college or university, leading a department at a hospital, running clinical trials for a new life-saving drug, or working in public health to serve your community.

With the field growing in California, consider attending a nurse practitioner program in San Diego to achieve your medical field goals.

Learn more about how you can get your MSN through Point Loma Nazarene University.

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What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do? And How Do I Become One? (2024)

FAQs

What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do? And How Do I Become One? ›

To become an NP, one must be a registered nurse (RN), hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), complete an NP-focused graduate master's or doctoral nursing program and successfully pass a national NP board certification exam.

Is a NP higher than an RN? ›

NPs tend to earn more than RNs, mostly because their positions require a higher level of education, additional clinical hours and certifications, and often work in private settings.

What do nurse practitioners do on a daily basis? ›

Ordering, performing and interpreting diagnostic tests such as lab work and x-rays. Diagnosing and treating acute and chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, infections and injuries. Prescribing medications and other treatments. Managing patients' overall care.

Is the nurse practitioner exam hard? ›

Becoming a Certified Nurse Practitioner isn't easy, and yes, both the AANP and ANCC certification exams are challenging — very challenging. They will take a great deal of analytical thought, clinical judgement, and preparation.

How do you pursue a career as a nurse practitioner? ›

Becoming a nurse practitioner is a multi-step process that starts with an undergraduate nursing degree and registered nurse (RN) license. After gaining experience as an RN, aspiring NPs complete a graduate nursing program, followed by board certification and advanced practice licensing.

What are the duties and responsibilities of a nurse practitioner? ›

What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do?
  • Recording a patient's medical history.
  • Updating medical records.
  • Documenting symptoms.
  • Collecting samples (blood, urine, mucus, stool, etc.)
  • Ordering lab tests or diagnostic procedures as necessary.
  • Performing detailed examinations of the patient.
  • Creating and implementing treatment plans.
Jul 14, 2021

Is a NP better than a LPN? ›

NPs and LPNs have some basic shared job responsibilities, but there are also some major differences between the two roles and the scope of their abilities, including patient care. Nurse practitioners have more responsibility, as well as the ability to perform certain actions for patients with no physician approval.

What type of NP gets paid the most? ›

As a hospitalist NP, you can expect to have one of the highest-paying nurse practitioner jobs. The average yearly wage is about $117,880. And while hourly rates vary based on region and specific hospitals, it is $56.67 on average.

What can a nurse practitioner do vs a doctor? ›

These professionals can also work together to deliver patient care. But there is one vital difference between nurse practitioners and physicians. The duties of NPs revolve around providing patient primary care, whereas the duties of physicians encompass complex patient diagnoses, specialty care, and treatments.

Why do doctors use nurse practitioners? ›

Nurse practitioners focus on disease management as well as health promotion and prevention. They're also more open to holistic health and offering more education. These aspects offer a very different approach from a medical doctor, making nurse practitioners effective partners in healthcare, too.

What is a typical day as a NP? ›

On a daily basis, nurse practitioners are typically expected to perform some combination of the following duties: Recording patient medical histories, including current symptoms and medications, and ensuring accurate medical records to provide proper diagnoses. Collecting information and samples from patients.

What is the hardest part of nurse practitioner school? ›

Following are the 10 biggest challenges you will face as a nurse practitioner student and ways to overcome them.
  • Clinical hour requirement. ...
  • Clinical Placements. ...
  • Certification Exam. ...
  • Demanding and complex schedule. ...
  • Continuing to work full time. ...
  • Coursework. ...
  • Specialization. ...
  • Graduate Requirements.

What is the hardest part of being a nurse practitioner? ›

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF BEING A NURSE PRACTITIONER?
  1. Emotional work. ...
  2. Varying hours. ...
  3. Working with people. ...
  4. Power imbalance and hierarchy. ...
  5. Not being able to help everyone. ...
  6. Restrictive practice settings. ...
  7. Being challenged too little or not enough. ...
  8. Charting, charting, and more charting.

Do you have to pass the Nclex to be a NP? ›

Which states so not require nurse practitioners to pass a national certification exam to be eligible for practice? Surprisingly, the State of California does not require NP's to take the national certification exam in order to practice as a nurse practitioner.

What is the best first job for a nurse practitioner? ›

WHAT ARE THE BEST JOBS FOR NEW GRAD NURSE PRACTITIONERS?
  1. Urgent Care Center. ...
  2. University Health Center. ...
  3. Addiction Medicine. ...
  4. Nephrology. ...
  5. Hard to place locations. ...
  6. Family health private practice. ...
  7. Locum Tenens (Travel Nursing) ...
  8. Occupational Care.

What hard skills do you need to be a nurse practitioner? ›

Here are 5 essential skills every nurse practitioner needs to succeed:
  • Strong communication skills. ...
  • Great leadership skills. ...
  • Analytical skills. ...
  • Exhibit patience under stress. ...
  • Core competencies. ...
  • Take the first step.

Why do nurses become nurse practitioners? ›

It is the drive to do more that prompts many nurses to pursue a path from a Registered Nurse to Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). Going beyond the hospital bedside, FNPs have greater autonomy, career growth, and personal satisfaction.

What is another name for a nurse practitioner? ›

A nurse practitioner (NP) is a nurse with a graduate degree in advanced practice nursing. This type of provider may also be referred to as an ARNP (Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner) or APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse). Types of health care providers is a related topic.

What are the benefits of a nurse practitioner? ›

Top 10 Pros of Being a Nurse Practitioner
  • Prosperous job outlook. ...
  • Flexibility in your work hours. ...
  • Competitive pay. ...
  • Having the opportunity to specialize. ...
  • Having a challenging career. ...
  • Growth of Telehealth. ...
  • Traveling opportunity. ...
  • The longevity of the career.

What is the highest nurse position? ›

Chief nursing officers are nursing administrators who work within the leadership team of a healthcare organization. They are considered the highest level of nursing leadership.

Is a PA higher than a NP? ›

Is NP higher than PA? Neither profession ranks "higher" than the other. Both NPs and PAs work in the healthcare field but with different qualifications, educational backgrounds, and responsibilities. They also work in different specialties.

Is NP harder than BSN? ›

Courses and content are more challenging. The level of knowledge you're required to have as a Nurse Practitioner is a huge step up from a RN. You'll take a lot of the same courses as you did with your BSN, but will go into each topic with a lot more depth because you'll be diagnosing and treating health problems soon.

What is the lowest paid nurse practitioner? ›

The average annual salary for a Nurse Practitioner is $118,040. The bottom 10% of average annual NP salaries is $79,470. The top 10% is $163,350 per year. The median annual wage for a Nurse Practitioner is $120,680.

Is becoming an NP worth it? ›

Plenty of job opportunities

Becoming a nurse practitioner is worth it due to this high demand! Jobs are aplenty, so you should have no trouble finding new grad NP jobs or switching to your ultimate dream job. If you are in a position that is burning you out and you have little to no work-life balance, then look around.

Do nurse practitioners make 6 figures? ›

Can Nurses Make Six Figures? Yes, you can 100% make six figures as a nurse. The disclaimer is that working in some states may make this easier than working in other states. Geographic location is a huge indicator of starting salary and can be a reason why some of you are not as close to others when looking at raw data.

Do doctors respect nurse practitioners? ›

I can say with confidence most physicians, particularly those that hire nurse practitioners, treat NP's with respect. Our scope of practice is different than that of physicians but as a nurse practitioner I know my boundaries and abide by them.

Why a nurse practitioner and not a doctor? ›

A primary difference between physicians and NPs is the fact that all doctors can prescribe medication to patients as a part of their duties. Nurse practitioners also prescribe medicine, but in some states they must be directly overseen by a doctor or physician in order to do so.

Is a nurse practitioner the same as a physician assistant? ›

Key Differences Between PAs and NPs

Nurse practitioners generally specialize in serving a particular patient “population” that focuses on patients who may be of a certain age or have a particular condition, while PAs tend to focus on a specific area of medicine, such as emergency, internal, or surgery specialties.

How do physicians feel about nurse practitioners? ›

Many physicians agree that NPs are a great addition to a clinic, because they “can pay for themselves” [13] and reduce physician workload [14].

Why do patients prefer NP over MD? ›

In general, the findings indicated that NPs spend more time with patients, listen more closely, provide more feedback, show more respect for patients' opinions, and the like. Note: Researchers point out that physicians scored well on the survey--an average global score of 7.2 out of 10.

Do nurse practitioners provide better care than doctors? ›

Researchers at Stanford University found that care by NPs increases lengths of stay in hospitals by 11% and accounts for 20% more preventable hospitalizations compared to emergency department doctors.

How long should I stay at my first NP job? ›

The learning curve for your new profession will be intense, so staying in one place for at least a year will get you to a point where you can begin to feel competent in your new setting. Leaving your first job too soon can cause your second position to be just as jarring as the first.

How stressful is being a NP? ›

High Stress Levels

Nurse practitioners stress level can be very high. They deal with sick or injured patients on a regular basis and are responsible for patients' treatment plans. This is a huge responsibility for the nurse, and in some cases, a patient cannot be treated or saved creating further emotional stress.

Do you celebrate nurse practitioners during Nurses Week? ›

Nurse Practitioner Week takes place annually in the second week of November to recognize these incredible healthcare providers and raise awareness of the powerful role they play in ensuring general health and well-being.

What is the hardest nursing class to take? ›

Hardest Nursing School Classes
  • Pathophysiology. In this course, students learn how different anatomical systems work and how diseases or injuries affect these systems. ...
  • Pharmacology. ...
  • Medical Surgical 1 (also known as Adult Health 1) ...
  • Evidence-Based Practice.

Is medical school harder than NP school? ›

These are 3-5 year programs, where you will take both the NCLEX to earn your RN but also complete a master's or doctorate program to become an NP. It's not just the duration of training, but also the competitiveness and rigor of each path. Getting into medical school is by far the most competitive of the three.

What is the hardest type of nurse to be? ›

Most Stressful Nursing Positions
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses. ICU is an extremely high-pressure environment and these nurses work with patients who have significant injuries and disease with added morbidity risks. ...
  • Emergency Department nurses. ...
  • Neonatal ICU. ...
  • OR nursing. ...
  • Oncology Nursing. ...
  • Psychiatric Nursing.
Jan 27, 2021

How hard is it to go from nurse practitioner to doctor? ›

Being a nurse practitioner does not mean you can take short cuts on your road to being a doctor. After you become a nurse practitioner you will still need to go to four years of medical school and 4 years of residency if you want to be a doctor.

Can you be a nurse if you are an introvert? ›

Can an Introvert Be a Nurse? Introverts can pursue a career in nursing. Whether you're a registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or certified nursing assistant (CNA), you'll be well-positioned to apply the skills and character traits you have as an introvert to your everyday work.

Which nurse practitioner exam is the easiest? ›

The AANP is rumored to be the easier of the two exams, specifically for those seeking their FNP certification as it historically had a higher pass rate than that of the ANCC FNP exam.

How many times can you fail the NCLEX? ›

If they fail, they'll need to wait 45 days before retesting. After failing three times, though, they'll need to complete a board-approved remediation program before the next retake. test-takers have six attempts to pass in total.

How many times can you take the NCLEX? ›

If you happen not to pass the exam, you can retake it after 45 days. And if you are wondering how often you can take the NCLEX, the NCSBN retake policy allows for a retake eight times a year, ensuring 45 exam-free days between each test.

How many times can you take the NP exam? ›

The ANCC Family Nurse Practitioner Certification (FNP-BC™) certification exam can be taken a maximum of three times in a year with at least 60 days in between testing dates.

What are the easiest nurse practitioner specialties? ›

WHAT ARE THE EASIEST NURSE PRACTITIONER SPECIALTIES TO GET ACCEPTED INTO?
  1. Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. ...
  2. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. ...
  3. Family Nurse Practitioner. ...
  4. Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners (OHNP) ...
  5. Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner.

Is 50 too old to become a nurse practitioner? ›

Age-Perfect! You're past the angst of the 20s, family-focused 30s, and wage-earning 40s. You'll find as an older student it's probably even easier to earn your Masters of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Nursing Education or Family Nurse Practitioner.

How do I prepare to be a nurse practitioner? ›

To become an NP, one must be a registered nurse (RN), hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), complete an NP-focused graduate master's or doctoral nursing program and successfully pass a national NP board certification exam.

What type of nurse practitioner is in highest demand? ›

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and labor statistics, the most in-demand specialties for NP include:
  • Family (70.3%)
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care (8.9%)
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health (6.5%).
Apr 10, 2023

What personality should a nurse practitioner have? ›

Nurse Practitioner Personality Traits

Patients want a healthcare provider who listens to their concerns, shows empathy for their pain and suffering, and works diligently to find a solution to their problems.

What is the main role of a nurse practitioner? ›

NPs provide a wide range of health care services, including the diagnosis and management of acute, chronic and complex health problems; health promotion; disease prevention; health education; and counseling to individuals, families, groups and communities.

Why do people call nurse practitioners doctor? ›

Unfortunately, some ANPs who have achieved a DNP degree refer to themselves as “doctor” in clinical settings. This is problematic. Although it is true that DNPs have earned a doctoral degree from an accredited institution, they are not physicians.

Are nurse practitioners higher than RNs? ›

Is a nurse practitioner higher than a registered nurse? A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse. The scope and authority granted to a nurse practitioner is greater than that of a registered nurse.

What do you address a nurse practitioner as? ›

Without giving it much thought, patients simply say, “Doctor” or “Doctor Jones.” When an NP is the health professional on call, however, what to say isn't always clear. Since NPs are diagnosticians, treatment providers, and caregivers, it may seem more respectful to add a sense of formality when addressing them.

How is a nurse practitioner different from a nurse? ›

Although both registered nurses and nurse practitioners focus on patient observation and care, the largest difference between the two roles is that NPs are permitted to prescribe treatments, order tests, and diagnose patients—duties normally performed by physicians—whereas RNs are not.

What is the difference between nurse practitioner and doctor? ›

These professionals can also work together to deliver patient care. But there is one vital difference between nurse practitioners and physicians. The duties of NPs revolve around providing patient primary care, whereas the duties of physicians encompass complex patient diagnoses, specialty care, and treatments.

What is the lifestyle of a nurse practitioner? ›

There's no such thing as a “typical day” for a family nurse practitioner (FNP). FNPs work with patients of all ages. They can perform similar functions as a physician and work in many different environments, including hospitals, urgent care clinics, and private practices.

How much power does a nurse practitioner have? ›

In 22 states and Washington D.C., NPs have full practice authority, which means they can evaluate patients, order and interpret diagnostic tests, create and manage treatment plans, and prescribe medications—all without physician oversight.

What is the benefit of seeing nurse practitioner vs doctor? ›

Many patients prefer to visit a nurse practitioner rather than a doctor as they often find the interactions to be overall more friendly, the wait times when scheduling an appointment to be far shorter and the prices to often be far more affordable.

What is the average age of a nurse practitioner? ›

The average age of a nurse practitioner is 43.4 years old, but the nurse practitioner age range starts between 20 and 24 years to 65 years old and over. Most nurse practitioners are between 35 and 44 years old, equaling almost 39% of all nurse practitioners in the United States.

Is there anything higher than a NP? ›

A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a terminal educational degree, while a nurse practitioner (NP) is a professional role and job title. Nurse practitioners can be prepared at the master's level or earn a DNP degree. As you explore advancing your nursing career, you may be comparing DNP vs master's NP programs.

What is the lowest level of nursing? ›

As the name suggests, CNAs assist nurses with patient admittance and vitals. It is the lowest-level credential related to the nursing field and the quickest point of entry.

Is there anything higher than a RN? ›

What Are the Levels of Nursing? There are five levels of nursing: Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Registered Nurse (RN), Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Is a PA or NP better? ›

NP vs PA Scope of Practice

Nurse practitioners are educated to serve a specific population while Physician assistants have a more general background. Physician assistants tend to have a surgical specialty while NPs are more at the patient's bedside throughout the hospitalization.

Is an NP more qualified than a PA? ›

Is NP higher than PA? Neither profession ranks "higher" than the other. Both NPs and PAs work in the healthcare field but with different qualifications, educational backgrounds, and responsibilities. They also work in different specialties.

What can doctors do that nurse practitioners Cannot? ›

A primary difference between physicians and NPs is the fact that all doctors can prescribe medication to patients as a part of their duties. Nurse practitioners also prescribe medicine, but in some states they must be directly overseen by a doctor or physician in order to do so.

What is the highest honor in nursing? ›

Florence Nightingale Medal

The Medal is the highest international distinction a nurse can receive.

What is the highest nurse in a hospital? ›

Chief nursing officers are nursing administrators who work within the leadership team of a healthcare organization. They are considered the highest level of nursing leadership.

What are the 5 levels of nursing care? ›

The theory identifies five levels of nursing experience: novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert.

What is the easiest nurse to be? ›

Low-Stress Nursing Careers
  1. Nurse Educator. This is one of the least stressful nursing jobs available. ...
  2. School Nurse/Summer Camp Nurse. If you love children, this might be the perfect opportunity for you. ...
  3. Nurse Administrator. ...
  4. Public Health Nurse. ...
  5. Nurse Researcher. ...
  6. Nurse Informaticist. ...
  7. Case Management Nurse. ...
  8. Home Health Nurse.
Sep 30, 2020

What comes after nurse practitioner? ›

The highest level of clinical nursing is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), which is a nurse-midwife, nurse practitioner, certified registered nurse anesthetist, or clinical nurse specialist.

What type of RN makes the most? ›

The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist consistently ranks as the highest-paid nursing career. That is because Nurse Anesthetists are highly skilled Registered Nurses who work closely with medical staff during medical procedures that require anesthesia.

What is the chain of command in nursing? ›

A chain of command is an authoritative structure used to resolve administrative, clinical, or other patient (or worker) safety issues using an established process for healthcare workers to present a concern through the lines of authority until a resolution is reached.

What is higher than a nurse but lower than a doctor? ›

Many people have primary care providers that are NPs or PAs. But what's the difference? In basic terms, a nurse practitioner is a registered nurse (RN) with advanced education and clinical training. A physician assistant is a medical professional with advanced education who is trained in the same way physicians are.

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