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Nurse Practitioner Programs in Florida

Florida’s nurse practitioners play an important part in the lives of their patients and also an important role in ensuring healthcare access. They can help with shortages of primary care providers. They do many of the things that general practice doctors do, though with some restrictions. Some carry out other specialized or advanced registered nursing duties.

Top Nurse Practitioner Programs in Florida

#1: Florida Atlantic University offers family nurse practitioner and adult-gerontology nurse practitioner programs for individuals with bachelor's or master's degrees in nursing. FAU also offers a psychiatric mental health track for those who already hold a master's degree. The DNP program is ranked #54 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

#2: Florida State University offers a hybrid-online family nurse practitioner program at the doctoral level. The school may award significant credit for coursework previously completed at the master’s level. The DNP program is ranked #66 in the nation.

#3: Florida International University, the University of South Florida, the University of Central Florida, and the University of North Florida are among the state’s respected CCNE-accredited DNP programs. High caliber nursing education isn’t limited to a spot on the map!

Nurse Practitioner Education

Programs are offered at the master's, post-master, and doctoral level. They may be online or hybrid, but the nurse should be prepared to put in at least 500 direct patient care hours.

A search of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) reveals that there are many CCNE-accredited Florida programs. This is the more common accreditation at the highest levels of clinical practice, though some programs hold accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Some nurse practitioners earned their qualification on the basis of earlier/ different standards. Florida has larger share than the typical state of advanced practice nurses whose degree is below the graduate level. Nurse practitioners with more education may be more able to manage health needs in the modern world – and contribute to the growing body of knowledge about healthcare management. Some leaders – among them, the CCNE – have pushed for the doctoral degree (DNP) to become the standard. CCNE-accredited doctoral programs require students to complete at least 1,000 clinical practice hours. They include a major project which allows the RN to pursue topics that will inform his or her practice. Master’s educated nurse practitioners often choose at some point to complete the higher degree.

Some advanced practice nurses publish, whether in academic publications or consumer-oriented ones. The Contemporary Clinic has recently published several articles by a Florida family nurse practitioner who holds a DNP and provides professional development at a retail clinic in Fort Lauderdale. She shares her insights about utilizing asthma action plans, helping patients manage Celiac Disease (http://contemporaryclinic.pharmacytimes.com/journals/issue/2018/February2018/The-Nuts-and-Bolts-of-Celiac-Disease), and educating patients about over-the-counter cold remedies.

Populations Served

Florida's nurse practitioners hold licensure as registered nurses; ‘Advanced Practice Registered Nurse’ is considered a license upgrade. In Florida, APRN is a broad category that also includes nurse midwife and nurse anesthetist. The term ‘psychiatric nurse’ is specifically referenced in state code. Many nurses who are licensed as nurse practitioners around the nation do indeed have a psychiatric/ mental health population focus. In other cases, the population is an age group or is gender-related. National certification agencies assess competency in working with particular populations. Population can be as broad as family nurse practitioner.

Florida nurse practitioners work under ongoing physician supervision. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners classifies Florida as a restricted practice state. Nurse practitioners do a lot – order medical tests, prescribe medications, initiate treatments – but do so under regulatory controls that are higher than in some parts of the nation. Lack of autonomy has sometimes made it more difficult for nurse practitioners to provide needed services in underserved areas. Even so, the number of nurse practitioners is increasing, and the majority do stay and practice in Florida. This is a good thing. The Center for Nursing notes that nurse practitioners can help the state meet its need for primary care providers. It's not just the age of the population that gives forecasters pause – it’s the aging of the workforce and impending NP retirements.

Florida notably does allow nurse practitioners to prescribe medications classified as controlled substances. A person has only to look to the website of the Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners to see some of the advances the state’s nurse practitioners have made in recent years (https://www.flanp.org). In a 2014 article “Nurse Practitioners Caught Between a Doc and a Hard Place”, the Florida Trend captured some of the difficulties one could run into trying to run a clinic without controlled substance authority; it also captured some of the ongoing issues trying to run a clinic under physician supervision in a very rural and poverty-stricken area (http://www.floridatrend.com/article/16928/nurse-practitioners-caught-between-a-doc-and-a-hard-place).

A majority of Florida’s Advanced Practice Registered Nurses work in hospitals. The next most common work setting is doctor's offices (and offices of other healthcare providers). Other relatively common settings include ambulatory care, urgent care or walk-in clinics, nursing facilities and assisted living facilities, home health, and school health services.

Potentially, nurse practitioners can do many things. Some work with truck drivers, helping them manage their health as well as providing mandatory physicals (https://campaignforaction.org/nurse-practitioners-help-truckers-keep-on-trucking/).

A prospective ANP will need to earn a graduate degree in nursing. The way to ensure that the program meets Florida standards is to make sure it meets the standards of a recognized third party certification agency. Accepted certification agencies set educational standards and administer certification examinations. Florida notes that accepted agencies have standards on a par with its own; Florida does not have an approval process for post-licensure programs. (See: Nurse Practitioner Requirements in Florida)

Average Nurse Practitioner Salary in Florida

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida nurse practitioners averaged $48.04 an hour in 2017. This translates to $99,930 for a year of 40-hour weeks. Data from the Center of Nursing suggests that the greatest number of Florida advanced practice nurses work 36 to 40 hours a week.

The annual full-time salary in Tallahassee is figured at $78,250. In the Palm Beach/ Melbourne/ Titusville area, it is $164,180 – the highest of any metropolitan area in the nation. Data for areas with lower numbers of practitioners may of course be less predictive.

There is a wide range of earnings, within metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas.

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