Due to its wide, sparsely-populated layout, many of Montana's residents are far from their primary health care provider. This is where family nurse practitioners come in. They are affordable alternatives to family physicians, and they can perform many of the same tasks as doctors. If you have a Bachelor's degree in nursing and you're wondering how you can make a difference in your community, you may want to consider becoming a family nurse practitioner.
Most of the family nurse practitioner's day is spent seeing patients. This includes performing well child checks, seeing patients for acute health care problems, and managing ongoing conditions. In addition, family nurse practitioners often take leadership roles in their healthcare facilities. If you attend a nurse practitioner program in Montana, your courses will include all of the information and skills you need to be a successful nurse practitioner.
One of the benefits of becoming a family nurse practitioner is the increase in income that may result. In Montana, according to O*Net, the median salary for a nurse practitioner is $86,100 (2012). Nurse practitioners with seniority and experience may earn up to $114,100 per year (O*Net, 2012).
In addition to this, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners reports that Montana nurse practitioners enjoy full practice rights. This means that you do not need to be overseen by a physician, nor do you need to have a collaborative agreement with a physician wherever you may work.
To learn more about your options to become an FNP, request information from the schools on this page. Keep in mind that the more information you have, the better prepared you will be make a well informed decision about your future.
Family Nurse Practitioner Program Curriculum
Montana has a variety of high-quality nurse practitioner programs that can prepare you for all of the tasks you may face as a family nurse practitioner. The variety of classes include courses in patient interaction, diagnosis, nursing research, and nursing leadership. Classes offered at many Montana schools include Evidence Based Practice, Advanced Health Assessment, Diagnostic Reasoning, and Advanced Pharmacology.
When you evaluate all of your options, it's important to choose a school that can fit your schedule. Because schools tend to be spread out in Montana, many students choose to complete the majority of their coursework online. This is a good option if you will work a lot or work a variety of hours. However, there are programs for people that prefer traditional, in-person classes as well.
Beyond the courses you have to take for your nurse practitioner degree, you also have to complete the required number of clinical hours. Most schools schedule clinical hours throughout the entire program, giving you many opportunities to practice your skills. Schools in Montana tend to require many clinical hours; requirements range from 800 clinical hours to 1100 clinical hours. Because of this, most students finished their nurse practitioner degree in three to four years.
Financing your Family Nurse Practitioner Program in Montana
Getting scholarships can save you money on your education, and applying for Montana-specific scholarships may increase your chance of being awarded scholarships. The Darcy Lynn Dengel Montana Nursing Scholarship offers up to $3,000 per year to advanced practice nursing students.
Working as a Family Nurse Practitioner in Montana
After you complete your family nurse practitioner program, you're ready to get licensed by the Montana Nursing Board. Once you have earned your license, you must remember to renew it every two years. During each two-year period, you have to complete 40 hours of continuing education. At least 10 of these hours must be in pharmacology.
Since Montana nurse practitioners have full practice rights, you can work in almost any health care facility. Many nurse practitioners choose to work in hospitals, family care clinics, or quick care clinics. However, some family nurse practitioners choose to open their own practice. This can offer more flexibility in terms of scheduled hours and how many patients you see. Some of the main nursing practitioner employers in Montana include Consulate Health Care and HealthCare Initiative.
After becoming licensed as a nurse practitioner, you may choose to join the Montana Nurses Association as well. This makes it easy for you to receive updates on relevant legislature, see new job postings, and network with other nurse practitioners in Montana.