After you finish your nursing shifts, do you go home thinking about your patients and wishing that you could do more for them? If you’re dedicated to your patients and want to expand your role in patient care in Pennsylvania, it may be time to take the next step in your nursing career and earn a Master’s degree in nursing.
If you earn a Master’s degree in nursing, you may have the skills and advanced training you need to become your patients’ primary care provider. This is particularly crucial in Pennsylvania, where large stretches of rural communities have little access to primary care physicians. Susan Schrand, the CEO of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners, notes that “Pennsylvania is already facing a provider shortage—especially in rural areas.” You may have quite a variety of job opportunities to choose from after graduation, especially if you’re willing to live in a small community.
The high quality of nursing departments in Pennsylvania makes this a great place to establish your career. Local nursing units recently received Beacon Awards, some of the top awards in nursing.
Learn more about graduate nursing degrees in Pennsylvania by requesting information from schools to find out if this is the right path for you.
To begin working as a nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania, you must have advanced knowledge in many different areas of health care. Plan on earning roughly 30 to 40 credits, depending on which school you decide to attend. Some of these credits are in pure theory courses, but most of your classes include a clinical component. You may work with patients of all different ages and backgrounds in your clinical work. By the time you complete your two to three year curriculum, you should have accumulated well over 600 clinical hours.
Your curriculum may include many advanced nursing courses. You may start your degree by taking classes like Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology, Scientific Inquiry for Evidence-Based Practice, and Advanced Pharmacology. Later courses in your curriculum may include high-level courses like Clinical Management of Primary Care, Advanced Concepts in Primary Care, Clinical Practicum, and Family Focused Primary Care.
In your pursuit of an advanced nursing degree, you may wish to apply for scholarships and grants. In addition to school-specific grants, there are quite a few grants offered by organizations and associations. The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association funds scholarships for graduate nursing students, as does the Nursing Foundation of Pennsylvania. If you have a high GPA and a history of strong academic performance, you may want to apply for the highly competitive Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing oversees your nurse practitioner licensure. You must provide proof of your existing RN license, pass a thorough nurse practitioner exam, and apply for an advanced practice license.
Pennsylvania’s need for nurse practitioners is on the rise. From 2012 until 2022, O*Net anticipates a 24 percent increase in nurse practitioner jobs, leading to roughly 150 new jobs per year.
Salaries in Pennsylvania are in line with nationally-reported averages. According to O*Net, the average salary for a Pennsylvania nurse practitioner is $86,800 per year.
Becoming a nurse practitioner can be a great way to serve your community, become a bigger part of the nursing community in Pennsylvania, and find a career you truly love. Learn more about the next step in this process by contacting nurse practitioner schools in Pennsylvania today.