Nurse practitioners are a growing force in the field of medicine. Due to the new and changing face of the world of healthcare, nurse practitioners are now taking over many of the duties once handled by general practitioners. Holding a graduate degree in advanced practice nursing, the nurse practitioner is well versed in both diagnosis and treatment, two facets of medical treatment that were once solely dedicated to MDs and the highest level general practitioners. The demand for nurse practitioners is growing every day, but the new opportunities do not come without significant challenges attached.

The way that nurse practitioners work represents a fundamental change in the health care industry. Nurse practitioners entering the field will need to be able to cope with the new demands imposed on them, staying flexible and constantly adapting to new situations. They will need to be highly skilled and well trained in order to carry out tasks delegated to them, many of which may be atypical for nurses, and they must be able to work well with other professionals while taking leadership responsibilities at times. This is, in many ways, a revolution in the world of medicine, and nurse practitioners must be able to adapt in order to survive in the industry.

At the same time, there is some backlash involved here, and many physicians oppose the expanding scope of responsibilities held by nurse practitioners. If nurse practitioners were licensed to prescribe medicine, they would be able to treat patients much more quickly than the traditional way, but physicians argue that nursing programs do not provide the training needed to take on these expanding responsibilities. Indeed, if a nurse practitioner’s training and education have not been adequate, he or she should not be able to prescribe medicine. To push that responsibility on someone not properly trained would be irresponsible and dangerous. There is a great deal of internal strife in the medical world regarding the definition of roles for nurse practitioners.

The role of the nurse practitioner becomes especially shaky in poorer areas that do not have easy access to full fledged physicians. In these settings the nurse practitioner often takes over the role of the doctor by offering medical advice, performing diagnosis and running diagnostic tests. assessing illnesses, monitoring care, and even promoting health education. The nurse practitioner must be confident enough in his or her abilities to take over these responsibilities when necessary, but also smart enough not to overstep boundaries in other situations.

Those interested students who think they can handle these growing challenges can look into nursing programs at local schools or check out family nurse practitioner programs online to obtain credentials on their own time. The roles of nurse practitioners are still expanding, and many expect nursing programs to become more comprehensive in order to meet growing demands and alleviate the concerns of physicians. Nurse practitioners provide excellence in health care and work hard to earn the respect of the medical world and treat people of all kinds around the world.