According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners work in a variety of settings to provide quality care across the continuum of populations and illnesses. RNs and NPs work in “hospitals, nursing homes, medical offices, ambulatory care centers, community health centers, schools, and retail clinics.” They might also work in less conventional locations such as “camps, homeless shelters, prisons, sporting events and tourist destinations.” Wherever there are people, there is likely an opportunity for a nurse.[i]
What do Nurse Practitioners do?
In general, Nurse Practitioners do the following[ii]:
Perform physical exams and take health histories
Provide health promotion, education, and counseling
Administer medications, wound care, and numerous other personalized interventions
Interpret patient information and make critical decisions about needed actions
Coordinate care in collaboration with a wide array of healthcare professionals
Direct and supervise care delivered by other healthcare personnel like LPNs and nurse aides
Conduct research in support of improved practice and patient outcomes
They might also work as administrators, leaders, or academics. When Nurse Practitioners specialize, they do everything above but with an emphasis on a particular population and/or area of healthcare.
What could Nurse Practitioners Earn?
Median National Salaries for Nurse Practitioners
According to the U.S Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2012 census, Nurse Practitioners and professionals in related fields earned a median annual wage of $96,460[iii]. Across the United States, there were 151,400 jobs for Nurse Practitioners, and the BLS expects the occupation to expand by 31 percent by the year 2022. This is much faster than the average for occupations across the healthcare and other industries[iv]. While $96,460 is the median annual wage for NPs, the Nurse Practitioner starting salary depends, of course, on where the NP works and in what specialization.
Specializations and Salary Potential for Nurse Practitioners By State
Through graduate-level education and experience, Nurse Practitioners specialize in particular areas. Some examples of specializations include family, pediatric, neonatal, psychiatric, oncological, geriatric, and acute nursing. NPs might work as anesthetists, midwives, or Nurse Practitioners within many of these areas. The NP salary depends upon the NP’s specialization, in which state the NP practices, and in what setting the NP finds employment, among other factors.
Nurse Practitioner Salaries in Select States in May 20145