A Work Day in the Life: Nurse Practitioners

A Work Day in the Life: Nurse Practitioners

The field of nursing can provide a challenging, high-paying, and rewarding career.

And nurse practitioners are at the pinnacle of nursing careers from the perspective of responsibilities, education, and compensation.

But what does a nurse practitioner do in a typical workday? Let’s get started with some guidance from the nursing education specialists at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences:

What do nurse practitioners do? The typical responsibilities of nurse practitioners may include:

  • Recording patient medical histories and performing physical exams
  • Administering primary and emergency care to patients
  • Creating patient treatment plans, prescribing medications, and monitoring patient progress
  • Ordering and administering diagnostic tests
  • Educating patients about the benefits of healthy nutrition and exercise choices for disease prevention
  • Providing mental health support


That’s an excellent description.

In this post, you’ll learn about what differentiates NPs from medical doctors and registered nurses, and how those differences can impact your career choice.

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

  • Differences between nurse practitioners and medical doctors
  • Some real-life work environments for nurse practitioners
  • Why it’s a rewarding career

So what are the fundamental differences between nurse practitioners and medical doctors?

An MD is an ultimate authority in healthcare provisioning in the U.S. Medical doctors provide full-spectrum emergency and non-emergency medical diagnoses, treatments, and patient care.

This includes ordering and evaluating diagnostic tests, treatments, care regimens, procedures, etc. Licensed physicians have the broadest powers available to provide medical care to their patients.

Nurse practitioners have a high level of authority to deliver patient care, but there are limitations due to a significant difference in the education and internship requirements for physicians.

NPs are limited in their authority as primary caregivers at different levels depending on the state. They may be limited in prescribing medications, ordering procedures, evaluating and ordering diagnostic tests, etc.

There are also different requirements for physician oversight of nurse practitioners on a state-by-state basis.

Some real-life work environments for nurse practitioners

NPs can work in almost any medical or clinical setting imaginable. These medical professionals can work anywhere from a fast-paced, demanding environment, such as an emergency room, to a more laid-back position in a telemedicine practice and everything in between.

The position provides a broad spectrum of choices in work location, hours, stress level, and responsibility.

Why it’s a rewarding career

Nurse practitioners can expect to make $100,000 or more annually with exceptional benefits, potential practice ownership, and an enviable choice of work-lifestyle environments.

These factors make the nurse practitioner field a potentially excellent career choice for healthcare professionals.

Are you a nurse practitioner considering a career change?

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