Virginia has a strong workforce of Nurse Practitioners, numbering 2,610 (BLS, 2012) who work as primary healthcare providers in its many rural and urban settings. Nurse practitioners can work in geriatrics, pediatrics, primary care or in many specialty areas, within both ambulatory or acute care settings. With such a widespread knowledge base, NPs have many opportunities in the state of Virginia.
In Virginia, nurse practitioners work closely with physicians, enhancing interdisciplinary collaboration. NPs must have a collaborative agreement with a local physician, which includes a written protocol that "describes the procedures to be followed and delegated medical acts…to be performed by the licensed nurse practitioner." NPs who wish to prescribe medication must have a separate practice agreement filled out with their collaborating doc.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012), the mean annual salary for nurse practitioners in Virginia is $86,900.
Virginia nurses who want to become nurse practitioners can study online, through a program like Georgetown University's, or at one of these in-state institutions:
- George Mason University. Located in Fairfax, George Mason offers two master's-level NP programs: family nurse practitioner and adult care nurse practitioner. Both programs can be completed in two or three years.
- Virginia Commonwealth University. VCU offers a variety of master's-level NP programs: adult nurse practitioner (primary or acute care), pediatric nurse practitioner, psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner and women's health nurse practitioner. An accelerated master's program is available to students who don't yet have a nursing degree; students take courses at both the undergrad and graduate level to obtain a BSN and MSN.
- Old Dominion University. Old Dominion, located in Norfolk, has family nurse practitioner and women's health nurse practitioner programs. Family nurse practitioner students at Old Dominion participate in the Eastern Virginia Medical School's standardized/simulated patient teaching program.