A nurse practitioner is someone that is at the mid-level of healthcare providers. Nurse practitioners have responsibilities for a variety of different patient related duties in a variety of settings, such as, physician’s offices, hospitals, health clinics, nursing homes, urgent care centers. In order to become a nurse practitioner, one must first obtain their high school diploma or GED equivalent. After that the process is to:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree within the nursing field
- Take and pass the National Council of State Boards of Nursing examination (NCLEX-RN)
- Attend an accredited nurse practitioner program and obtain a master’s degree or doctorate degree
You can and should begin preparing for a career as a nurse practitioner even while you’re still in high school.
Taking science courses, especially those science courses that have concentrations in anatomy, chemistry, biology and physiology are very important to take during your high school years.
An essential part of study is physiology and anatomy, due to the fact that your nursing career will require you to know and understand the different systems and parts and the functions of a human body. In a course for anatomy and physiology the student will learn about the human body and all that’s different systems, such as, the circulatory system and the respiratory system.
Biology courses will give you the foundation of learning of life’s foundations, from the basic structure of cells to the characteristics of animal development. Additionally, basic courses in chemistry will be helpful to you when it comes to the understanding of body and cell functions, including how the body is affected by medications and how with pH the body will maintain homeostasis.
A nurse will utilize calculus and algebra every single day in order to determine the correct medication doses through the use of percentages and conversions and factoring the patient’s weight for basic dosing. Even a simple mathematical error could cause serious harm to a patient, so it’s essential to understand mathematics. You’re not always going to have your trusty calculator on board with you so you should be comfortable with being able to do simple mathematical division and multiplication in your head. If you’re not, simply practice doing so until you have a high level of comfort with it.
You will be required to read, speak and write in English, so if you’re someone is planning on attending a nursing or nurse practitioner program within the United States this is going to requirement. For someone that’s interested in practicing nursing in any other area, it’s always important to have a basic understanding of whatever the population to be working with speaks, due to the simple fact that many patients only have an understanding of their native language. Even just learning some simple phrases in a different language can be an immense help, such as:
- Where does it hurt?
- How are you feeling?
You may be required to take a class in foreign language medical terminology later on in your bachelors or masters nursing program.
Furthermore, courses like public speaking or speech communication are great and important tools to take for the future nurse practitioner. The reason for this is that the nurse practitioner will need to have a high level of comfort when speaking in a professional manner to the patients, the patient’s family and even their own coworkers.
Other than just the classes spoke about above, it’s a great help to take a nutrition and health course while you’re still in high school. In these courses you’ll gain a familiarity with exercise and healthy eating, along with a basic knowledge of how the body works. There may be some classes will go into bonuses, such as, diabetes and heart disease. There are some that will even go into sexual reproduction and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).
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