If you've ever considered furthering your nursing career with a Master’s degree, now may be the time to look into your options. Health care laws and standards are changing all over the country, leaving many areas with a shortage of advanced nursing professionals. This is particularly true in South Carolina’s rural areas, where the wait list for a general care doctor may be several months long. If you’re ready to make a real impact on the nursing community of South Carolina, a career as a nurse practitioner may be the right choice for you.
Now, more than ever, South Carolina is in need of highly-trained nursing professionals that are willing to uphold strict standards day in and day out. The State reports that a change in nursing home standards has led to a drop in ratings for many of South Carolina’s nursing homes. Dedicating yourself to a career in long-term care may give you the freedom to explore many local employers.
As a nurse practitioner, you may be able to work as a primary care provider and minimize the effects of South Carolina’s doctor shortage. South Carolina is 38th in the country in terms of doctors per 100,000 residents. By collaborating with physicians, you can provide evidence-based primary care.
Keep reading to learn more about nurse practitioner programs in South Carolina, then contact the schools that interest you to learn more about your options.
A career in this nursing specialty begins with the right education, which is a master’s degree or a doctoral degree in nursing. You should plan on completing at least 30 credits for a master’s degree and at least 60 degrees for a doctoral degree. Doctoral degrees tend to require a significant amount of clinical experience, so you may be qualified for more positions with this degree. To enroll in most nurse practitioner programs, you must have a bachelor’s degree. However, there are RN-to-MSN programs that are designed for associate’s degree graduates.
To start getting familiar with primary care and the role that nurse practitioners play in patient care, you may begin your education with courses like Primary Care Nursing of Children, Diagnostic Interpretation and Therapeutic Modalities, and Advanced Practice Nursing Management. Other courses that may be part of your curriculum include Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Pathophysiology for Nurses, Pharmacological Management of Patients, and Clinical Practicum. These courses may help you earn more than 600 clinical hours, which should prepare you for practice after graduation.
Financial aid can go a long way in making your education more attainable and affordable. Of course, you can look into grants and scholarships offered by your school, but you may also want to look into association-funded grants and scholarships. The South Carolina Higher Education Foundation funds several nursing scholarships. Consider also applying for scholarships through the South Carolina Nurses Foundation. Another local resource for financial aid is the Student Nurses Association of South Carolina.
Through the South Carolina Board of Nursing, you can turn your registered nursing license into an advanced practice license. You must prove yourself through your educational records and a nurse practitioner exam before receiving your advanced practice nursing license.
Taking your career to this level may pay off with a higher income potential. O*Net reports that South Carolina nurse practitioners claim a median salary of $85,100 per year. They expect job openings for NPs to increase by 33 percent by 2022 (O*Net, 2012).
Are you ready to explore your potential as an advanced practice nurse? If so, take the first step now by contacting nurse practitioner schools in South Carolina.