If you are a registered nurse who is ready to take on more responsibility and work in tandem with other health care providers to ensure your patients are as healthy as possible, you might be the perfect fit for a nurse practitioner program. Now that the Affordable Care Act is being implemented, there are many people left without primary care providers. Family nurse practitioners are an affordable way to fill the gap and get people the quality care they deserve.
While nurse practitioners have some limitations on the way they practice in Oklahoma, there are still many ways that they provide evidence-based care to patients. Oklahoma requires nurse practitioners to be supervised by a physician. A physician can also delegate tasks to a nurse practitioner, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners . Family nurse practitioners can see and treat patients of all ages, making them an invaluable asset in many health care settings.
If you choose to complete a nurse practitioner program and begin your career as a family nurse practitioner, you can also substantially increase your potential income. According to O*Net, the median salary for a nurse practitioner in Oklahoma is $84,800 per year. With seniority and experience, you may be able to make up to $118,500 per year (O*Net, 2012).
Family Nurse Practitioner Curriculum in Oklahoma
One of the prerequisites for beginning a nurse practitioner program is the completion of a Bachelor's degree in nursing. This prepares you for the variety of coursework you have to complete during your NP schooling, whether it be a Master's or Doctoral program.
Some of the courses you may have to take as a nurse practitioner student include Background for Nursing Practice, Applied Principles of Pathology, Diagnostic Reasoning, Primary Health Care for Children, and Advanced Pharmacology. You may also have to complete coursework in nursing leadership, in order to prepare you for supervising and overseeing registered nurses.
An important part of your education is your clinical work. During clinical rotations, you can gain experience working with a variety of populations. In addition, doing clinical work at local healthcare facilities can help you network and prepare for your job search after graduation. While clinical requirements vary from school to school, you can expect to complete 550 to 800 clinical hours during the course of your program. Between clinical work and regular classes, most students need three to four years to earn their Master's degree in nursing.
Financing your Family Nurse Practitioner Program in Oklahoma
Getting one or more scholarships can help you pay for school, in addition to strengthening your writing skills and connections within the community. If you live and attend school in Oklahoma, you may be able to earn a scholarship from the Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners .
Family Nurse Practitioner Careers in Oklahoma
You can get your advanced practice nursing license from the Oklahoma Board of Nursing after you've graduated from an accredited program. Once you have earned your license, it is your responsibility to renew it every two years before it expires. If you have prescriptive privileges as a nurse practitioner, you must also complete 15 hours of continuing education in pharmacotherapeutics every two years.
Because nurse practitioners in Oklahoma need to be supervised by a physician, you have to work in health care environments where a physician is always present. Some of the largest employers of nurse practitioners include medical clinics, urgent care centers, and hospitals. Major employers in Oklahoma include Take Care Health System, UnitedHealth Group, MSI International, and Pro Med Healthcare.
You can build connections within the nurse practitioner community by joining the Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners. In addition to networking with other nurse practitioners, you can get new job listings and learn about relevant nursing legislature.