Many registered nurses are finding new fulfillment in their nursing careers after becoming family nurse practitioners. While there are many categories of nurse practitioners, family nurse practitioners are considered the most versatile, because they can provide health care to patients of all ages. South Carolina, like many states, is facing a shortage of primary care providers. Family nurse practitioners can help fill that gap.
Seeing patients makes up the majority of a nurse practitioner's work day. However, you may also have to delegate tasks, oversee registered nurses, and stay up-to-date on new nursing research. In South Carolina, nurse practitioners have a more limited scope of practice than in many other states. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, nurse practitioners must work under the supervision of a physician. They often need to have tasks delegated to them by a physician. However, this still gives you the freedom to work in many different health care environments and provide a high level of care to patients.
Becoming a nurse practitioner can increase your income potential considerably. Per O*Net, the median income for a nurse practitioner in South Carolina is $86,100 per year. Nurse practitioners with enough seniority and experience can earn up to $117,400 per year (O*Net, 2012).
To find programs, simply request information from the schools below, including those that offer distance and online learning options to facilitate earning your degree without compromising your current personal and professional responsibilities.
Family Nurse Practitioner Curriculum in South Carolina
There are many different nurse practitioner programs in South Carolina, and you have to choose the one that best suits your needs. In general, it takes 2 to 4 years to complete a nurse practitioner program, depending upon the route you choose. There are both Master's level and Doctoral level programs of study, both of which prepare you for licensure and practice as an NP.
The amount of time it takes you to complete your degree depends on whether you attend full-time or part-time, in addition to whether or not your school offers summer classes. Some schools offer classes during the day, while others focus on evening and weekend classes. Students that prefer online classes can look into the Medical University of South Carolina; the program is done almost entirely online, with the exception of a few campus visits and the clinical hours.
The coursework of a nurse practitioner program includes classes in patient care, nursing leadership, and research in nursing. Classes commonly required by most programs include Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics, Evidence-Based Practice, and Applied Health Care Economics.
In addition to completing nursing classes, you also have to complete the required amount of clinical hours. Most schools in South Carolina require between 650 and 850 clinical hours. These tend to be spread out through the course of the program, with many schools starting clinical hours in the second semester of study.
Financing your Family Nurse Practitioner Program in South Carolina
While you plan out how you will pay for your education, be sure to look into the scholarships that are available to you. The South Carolina Nurses Foundation awards the Nurses Care Scholarship on an annual basis to advanced practice students.
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Family Nurse Practitioner Careers in South Carolina
In order to work as a nurse practitioner in South Carolina, you have to get your license from the Nursing Board of South Carolina. After initial licensure, you must renew your license every two years.
There are many nurse practitioner employers in South Carolina; some of the largest employers include Medical University of South Carolina Medical Center, UnitedHealth Group, Hospice Compassus, Caris HealthCare, and Spectrum Healthcare. The majority of nurse practitioner employers in South Carolina are hospitals and health care clinics.
Networking with other nurse practitioners can help you advance your career and learn about new job postings. One of the easiest ways to do this is joining the South Carolina Nurses Association. Being a member of this association also allows you to stay updated on new nursing legislature and get access to continuing education opportunities.