Nursing professionals: education, responsibilities and autonomy


Nurse Practitioners (NPs), also called Advanced Registered Nurses (APRNs), are nurses who can perform a wide range of medical functions, including many that overlap with physicians.

IRs rank between registered nurses (RNs) and physicians in terms of the type of education they have and the degree of responsibility they have in caring for people.

In this article, you will learn about the education, specialization, and level of autonomy of nurse practitioners compared to nurses and medical professionals.

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Education and training

To become an IR, you must first go to school to become an IR.

Becoming an RN means earning an associate's degree (two years) or a bachelor's degree (four years) in nursing. This degree is called a Bachelor of Nursing or BSN.

It takes four years to become an IR. Depending on the program, when you receive your BSN, you will have between 700 and 800 hours of clinical (patient care) experience.

Then, you must pass the National Council licensing exam to become a licensed registered nurse. All states require an RN license.

Then, complete graduate studies for a Master of Medicine (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing (DNP) degree.

Course work includes at least 500 hours of supervised clinical work. The program typically takes two to four years to complete.

Finally, you must pass the National IR Certification Board exam to become a licensed IR.

DNP is preferred over MSN

While you can currently run NP with MSN, this may change. Several organizations have called for DNP to become the new standard for nurse practitioners.


You will choose a specialty when you start the NP program. Common specialties include:

  • A family
  • Neonatal
  • Pediatric
  • Adult
  • Geriatric
  • Emergency
  • Oncology (cancer)
  • Mental health
  • Women's health

Course work focuses on specialties from the beginning.


Nurse Practitioners can provide a wide range of services. Unlike PH, they can:

  • Diagnose and treat diseases.
  • Write recipes
  • Request medical tests
  • Interpret the test results
  • Coordinate primary and emergency care.
  • Be a primary health care provider.

The responsibilities of an IR are very similar to those of a physician. The main thing that doctors cannot do is perform surgical procedures on their own.

However, NP may take a different approach than clinicians. The American Association of Nursing Professionals states that NP training focuses on "general health and wellness," with a special emphasis on:

  • Disease prevention
  • Promoting good health
  • Education
  • Consultant

Salary NP

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for a nurse is just under $ 112,000.


In the United States, about half of the states allow PN to be done without direct medical supervision. This means that they have complete autonomy and can even practice in private.

This is the source of some controversy in the medical community. The American Medical Association argued that NPs have too much autonomy and insufficient training for treating complex conditions.

But NPs say they have been trained to understand when a patient needs to be referred to a doctor or specialist.

Meanwhile, an increase in the number of US NPs has helped the medical system cope with a shortage of primary health care providers.


Nurses must complete a master's or doctorate in nursing. Then, they must pass the licensing exams.

IRs choose a specialty when they begin a program, and their courses are completely focused on that specialty.

IRs can diagnose and treat disease and perform most of the functions that physicians can. Some states require IRs to be supervised by a physician, while others allow them to practice unsupervised.

NP autonomy is the source of some controversy in the medical community.

Get the word of drug information

If you are interested in a medical career or are looking for a doctor, this can help you learn what an IR is and how this position is different from other health care positions.

When you are a patient, it is important that you feel comfortable with your healthcare provider. Be honest and open-minded, especially if you think you need to see a doctor or specialist.

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