Release Date: 2020-07-30
Aspiring to be a nurse practitioner is an admirable aspiration to have because the United States needs more advanced practice nurses than the nation has ever needed before. It should be understood that the shortage was already causing big problems, especially in rural healthcare segments, before Covid-19 hit the world. As of now, though, the need for advanced nurse practitioners is indeed dire, and that need is no longer just limited to townships or rural areas alone.
As it should be the duty of every aspiring medical professional, they should first take a good look at the career path ahead of them, the educational requirements, and everything else it entails, before committing to it. If your career leads you into direct healthcare, people’s lives will depend on it, which means that you should be adequately prepared to face both the benefits and the pressure that it brings with it.

You Are Mentally Prepared for the Hardest Part Already

If you are reading this, then it means that you are a registered nurse with significant experience, looking to rise in your career and find more ways to help in this time of national need. Therefore, as far as the psychological aspect of handling the role of a nurse is concerned, you are already used to it. The life of an RN is a super busy one, and it involves fighting against sickness all the time, and especially so if you happen to be an emergency nurse.

It is true that you will learn a lot more about leadership and advanced medical practices while completing your NP program, and there is very little in terms of handling patients directly that you are not mentally prepared for. In fact, a proper NP degree will provide an experienced nurse with more tools to deal with such situations, which would practically make their jobs easier than they might be right now.

A DNP-NP Opens Up a Nurse’s Career Towards Independent Practice

There is no higher degree in the field of nursing than a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) certification, and if you choose a nurse practitioner’s track to complete your DNP in, it will open up your career to the possibilities of running individual clinics or independent practices of your own. For example, after completing one of the pediatric nurse practitioner programs (DNP - PNP) from the Louis Herrington School of Nursing (Baylor University), a licensed PNP could start an independent primary childcare practice in any of the following states.

  • Arizona
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Oregon
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Wyoming
  • Washington

Understand that depending on the concerned state’s jurisdictions, the NPs may need additional licenses, registrations and hours under medical supervision to earn that independence. However, all of these states do allow FPA or full practice authority to qualifying licensed pediatric nurse practitioners, family nurse practitioners and other APNs without much delay in between.
NPs with a DNP Earn More than $110,000 Per Year on an Average

Even without a DNP, nurse practitioners earn nearly $110,000 per year in the United States on an average, but adding a specialization track and becoming a DNP-PNP could boost your salary well beyond that. It is difficult to gauge an exact average, since fields in nurse practitionership are diverse, and the salaries differ a lot depending on which role the DNP-NP has assumed and in which part of the nation. Nevertheless, a moderate to significant salary boost is expected in all situations. As you gain more experience and assume a leadership role, or start your own practice, earning potentials are going to be in the $125,000+ range on an average.

States That Allow FPA to NPs Demand More Qualifications

There are a number of US states in addition to those mentioned already, that allow autonomy to qualifying nurses. Unfortunately, the additional requirements stretch the APN’s education/practice time a lot further. Getting full practice authority in the states mentioned next is possible, provided that you have the time to meet their additional requirements:

  • Virginia: 5 years & 9,000 hours
  • Kentucky: 4 complete years
  • Connecticut: 3 years & 2,000 hours
  • West Virginia: 3 complete years
  • Delaware: 2 years & 4,000 hours
  • Vermont: 2 years & 2,400 hours
  • Maine: 2 complete years
  • Nevada: 2 years/2,000 hours  
  • Maryland: 1.5 years
  • Illinois: 4,000 hours
  • Minnesota: 2,080 hours
  • Nebraska: 2,000 hours
  • South Dakota: 1,040 hours
  • Colorado: 1,000 hours

It should be noted that after completing a DNP-NP program from an accredited university, a number of these requirements could already be met by the time the NP gets their doctorate degree. What that means is that DNP-PNP/NP degree holders could very well be able to practice with an FPA in any of these 28 states, after meeting minor local state requirements.

There Are 32 States that Accept Online DNP-NP Programs

Given the current situation and the lack of medical caregivers and authoritative figures in healthcare sites across the United States, more states are likely to join the list soon. For now, though, the official list includes 32 states, which are as follows:

  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Arkansas
  • Maine
  • California
  • Maryland
  • Vermont
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Virginia
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Mississippi
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Oklahoma
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington
  • South Dakota
  • Michigan
  • West Virginia
  • South Carolina
  • New Hampshire
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin
  • Ohio
  • New Jersey

Noting the state list is important because if you end up applying from a state which does not accept online DNPs, your application is likely to be rejected by the concerned university/nursing school. Even if they did accept it, you would have to move state in order to be able to get the recognition, salary boost and FPA you are aspiring towards. It’s best to discuss your situation with the university first before confirming the application.

The entire nursing community is already doing its part to handle this deadly pandemic, and some of them have even sacrificed their lives in the service of those under their care. If you feel that you need more tools in your repertoire to fight the pandemic, a doctorate degree in your desired field could be the best way to get access to those tools. -

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