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What does a Family Nurse Practitioner do?

Family nurse practitioners provide comprehensive family care to patient of all ages. They don’t specialize in a particular kind of medicine, but are primary care providers. In small villages and rural areas, it’s not uncommon for family nurse practitioners to run small medical offices or even clinics by themselves.

family nurse practitioner

According to the American Academy of Nurse Practioners, nurse practitioners (NPs) provide healthcare services similar to those of medical doctors. They diagnose and treat medical conditions, prescribe medications, manage patients’ overall care, etc.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, NPs serve as primary and specialty care providers, providing a blend of nursing and healthcare services to patients and families. The most common specialty areas for nurse practitioners are family practice, adult practice, women’s health, pediatrics, acute care, and geriatrics.

Educational requirements for family nurse practitioners

Family nurse practitioners are always registered nurses, but their training, education and qualifications exceed those of registered nurses.

In order to become a registered nurse (RN) in the U.S., one needs to either obtain a four-year college degree, a two-year associate degree or, more rarely, complete a diploma program. Most registered nurses obtain four-year bachelor’s degrees in nursing. The coursework includes classes in anatomy, patient care, nursing, pharmacology, leadership, etc.

Family nurse practitioners are considered advanced practice nurses, and as such, must hold a master’s degree in nursing, which can be obtained in two to four years of study at a private or public university.

Online options, especially at for-profit universities, are also an attractive option for busy RNs who want to become nurse practitioners. In all states in the U.S., nurses must pass a licensing examination, known as the NCLEX-RN, in order to obtain a nursing license.

How much do registered nurses earn?

The job outlook for nurses – and the entire health care profession – is excellent, even though it can vary by region. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 22 percent.

The BLS also predicts that the advanced practice areas, which include nurse practitioners, will continue to be in high demand, particularly in medically underserved areas, including rural areas and inner cities.

Most of the nation’s RNs work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, in home health services, outpatient care services or in nursing care facilities. The states with the highest employment for RNs are California, Texas, New York and Florida, while the highest-paying states are California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Alaska and Maryland.

If you think that the nation’s fastest growing employment sector–healthcare–is a good fit for you, then nursing might just be up your alley. Start the journey now by choosing the nursing degree that fits your needs.

What does a Midwife do?

Childbirth is, at its core, both simple and complicated. Women’s bodies are designed to bear children, and yet, so many things can go wrong when it comes time to deliver a baby. An experienced, professional midwife can make the labor and birthing process safer and more comfortable for everyone involved.


A vital health care professional

Forget any preconceived notions you might have of a sarong-clad treehugger humming New Agey music while concocting natural herbal remedies; a midwife is a licensed health care professional who provides mothers (and mothers-to-be) with education, counseling, and support throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

An education in gynecologic and reproductive health is a crucial foundation of this profession. Expectant mothers might choose to have their babies delivered by midwives for one of several reasons:

  • Midwives are often proponents of “natural” childbirth
  • The mother has chosen to deliver the baby at home
  • Midwives may be more affordable natal care options than other types of specialists

Because of the nature of the work, you must have excellent communication skills, a good bedside manner and unending patience in order to succeed as a midwife.

The many faces of midwifery

There are several different types of midwife, each requiring specific qualifications. Your licensing may depend upon the state you live in, and the state(s) you wish to practice in.

  • A Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is both a trained and licensed nurse and midwife, and is classified as an “advanced practice nurse.” They are registered nurses who most often hold at least a master’s degree and are certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives.
  • A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is a trained midwife who is certified by the North American Registry of Midwives.
  • A Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM) trained independently through an academic program or an apprenticeship.
  • A Certified Midwife (CM) is trained in midwifery, generally holds at least a bachelor’s degree, and is certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives.
  • Finally, a Law Midwife is someone who trained through apprenticeship, and does not hold any certifications.

Depending on the level of education you would like to pursue, this career offers multiple options and advancements. Your educational level is also likely to determine your salary potential.

A career is born

The amount of money you earn as a midwife will vary, depending upon where you live, where you work, and what level of education and certification you have. Midwives work in a variety of professional settings, from hospitals to health clinics to private practices. Midwifery can be a fairly autonomous career, so many midwifes operate their own practices. The American College of Nurse-Midwives reports that most midwives work in hospitals as part of a health care team that may include physicians, nutritionists, social workers, and other health care professionals.

What does a Neonatal Nurse do?

There are over four million births in the United States each year, a figure that has increased by nearly 30 percent over the past 30 years. Even as the number of births increased sharply over this time period, the US infant mortality rate declined significantly. These facts underscore the important role played by a neonatal nurse.

Neonatal nursing can be a financially and emotionally rewarding career, but it requires both intensive training and some special personal characteristics.

neonatal nurse

Job requirements for neonatal nurses

A neonatal nurse cares for newborns in the first days of their lives. Because newborns are so delicate, nurses need specific neonatal training in various aspects of nursing, from administering medications to resuscitation. In many cases, nurses have to work long and tiring shifts, and because of the importance of their work they have to fight against allowing fatigue to diminish patient care.

Nurses need a strong enough aptitude for science to understand a range of medical subjects, from anatomy to medication. They need to couple this intellectual ability with emotional stability and empathy for their patients.

Neonatal nurses are required to be registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. They must be certified in either neonatal resuscitation or neonatal intensive care nursing, or both. In addition, they may pursue more advanced training depending on the level of neonatal nursing they provide. There are different levels of neonatal nursing for healthy babies, premature or sick babies, and those babies requiring intensive care.

Career opportunities for neonatal nurses

The number of jobs for registered nurses, in general, is expected to grow much more quickly than the employment market as a whole, and with the birth rate steadily increasing, neonatal nurses should continue to see rising demand.

As you might expect, most nurses work for hospitals, and hospitals tend to pay above-average wages. Location can also be a big factor in the income you earn, with California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Maryland, and New Jersey being the highest-paying states for registered nurses.

Being a neonatal nurse has several things going for it as a career – above average expected job growth, geographic flexibility, and good wages. On top of that, it is literally a chance to make a life-or-death difference to some of the most fragile members of society.