The abundance of rural communities in West Virginia make it the perfect place for family nurse practitioners to start their careers. Many residents of the state go without regular health care because the nearest doctor or clinic is too far for regular visits to be convenient.
Family nurse practitioners spend a lot of time seeing patients, which includes diagnosing and treating illnesses. They may also be able to prescribe medications, allowing them to meet all of their patients' health care needs. If you have a Bachelor's degree in nursing and you're wondering how you can have an impact on your community, becoming a family nurse practitioner may be ideal for you. In West Virginia, nurse practitioners must have a collaborative agreement with the physician in order to work, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. This lets you work closely with patients while also collaborating with an overseeing physician.
In addition to having a greater impact on your patients' lives, becoming a family nurse practitioner can also increase your earning potential. According to O*Net, the median salary for a nurse practitioner in West Virginia is $80,600. You may be able to earn up to $97,700 per year when you gain more experience (O*Net, 2012).
To find out more about a program that may work for you, request information from the schools below.
Family Nurse Practitioner Curriculum in West Virginia
The first step to becoming a family nurse practitioner is choosing a nurse practitioner program in West Virginia. There are different routes to becoming an FNP, and you will likely need to decide between a Master's level or Doctorate level program. There are a variety of programs throughout the state, and many of them offer different course schedules. If you are currently working as a nurse, you may have a demanding schedule that requires you to work different hours every week. Some schools offer online courses, allowing you to complete your work when you have time.
There are many classes required by all nurse practitioner programs. Some of these courses include Primary Care for Rural Families, Research and Systematic Analysis, Health Policy, Advanced Pathophysiology, and Pharmacotherapeutics. At many schools, there is a focus on rural health and reaching poor communities. This prepares you to provide appropriate, thoughtful care to underprivileged patients.
As you complete your coursework, you also have to complete the required number of clinical hours. Most schools have you complete between 90 and 180 clinical hours per semester, adding up to roughly 600 clinical hours by the time you graduate. If you live far away from the school, you may be able to complete your clinical rotations at a site nearer to home.
Financing your Family Nurse Practitioner Program in West Virginia
Paying for school can be much easier if you earn scholarships to help you cover educational costs. In West Virginia, you can apply for the West Virginia Sciences Scholarship Program. This scholarship is awarded annually to nurse practitioner students.
Family Nurse Practitioner Careers in West Virginia
Once you have graduated from an accredited nursing program, you can apply for an advanced practice nursing license from the West Virginia Nursing Board. After you earn your initial license, you have to renew it on an annual basis. In order to continue working, you have to renew your license by October 31.
Nurse practitioners in West Virginia can work in a variety of settings, including health care clinics and hospitals. Some of the largest nurse practitioner employers in West Virginia include Diamond Healthcare, Concentra, Genesis HealthCare, and Amedisys Home Health.
One way to network with other health care professionals is joining the West Virginia Nurses Association. By joining this association, you can get access to job listings, learn about new continuing education opportunities, and network with other nurse practitioners.