Nurse Practitioner Programs in Indiana
There are good reasons Indiana healthcare organizations have been utilizing nurse practitioners in increasing numbers. Nurse practitioners’ advanced nursing education prepares them to do so much! Nurse practitioners work in a variety of settings including outpatient clinics, community agencies, hospitals, and private practice.
Scope and standards are described in state code. By definition, nurse practitioners are nurses who carry out advanced clinical duties in their specialty area. Their role includes assessing patients, evaluating findings from a variety of sources (including laboratory tests), formulating plans of care, counseling patients about wellness, and guiding other healthcare staff members. They can be granted prescriptive authority for schedules II through V drugs.
Many people receive care from nurse practitioners who in an earlier era would have seen a doctor. There are some significant differences between nurse practitioner training and physician training. NPs don’t have as many hours, even though some of them now take their education to the doctoral level. They do their training in stages, with nurse practitioner education building on RN education and often on years of nursing practice. The training is somewhat narrower in scope. NPs have a population focus. The most common is family nurse practitioner. Some nurse practitioners concentration on pediatrics, adult-gerontology, women’s health/ gender, psychiatric/ mental health, or neonatal populations.
In Indiana, nurse practitioners, along with nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists, are classified as advanced practice nurses. Nurse practitioners hold licensing as registered nurses. Indiana has an application process for prescriptive authority, not for nurse practitioner licensing per se. Additional paperwork is required for authority to prescribe controlled substances.
State code does establish minimum standards for nurse practitioners.
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Nurse Practitioner Programs in Indiana
#1: Indiana University-Purdue University offers five nurse practitioner tracks at the master’s level. Those who opt to serve an adult-gerontology population can select a primary or acute care focus. The Indiana University-Purdue University online master’s has been ranked #36 in the nation by US News and World Report. Nurses with leadership aspirations can apply for a post-master DNP. Recently, IUPU students worked on a solution to needle-transmitted hepatitis C in Egypt, in communication with the World Health Organization.
#2: Purdue University—West Lafayette is designated as a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing. The category: Enhance Student Learning and Professional Development. Purdue offers a number of options, including pediatric primary care.
#3: Ball State University, yet another recognized Center of Excellence, offers a CCNE-accredited online nurse practitioner program. Ball State’s online nursing master’s is ranked #23 in the nation by US News and World Report.
#4: The University of Southern Indiana CCNE-accredited online master’s in nursing is ranked #28 in the nation.
Nurse Practitioner Education and Credentialing in Indiana
Indiana requires nurse practitioners to have completed a graduate program or have completed another formal program and achieved national certification. Education must be completed through an accredited school.
Prospective students should be aware that many states require both a graduate degree and national certification. They often require that the program have programmatic accreditation. Nurses can search the CCNE and ACEN directories for accredited programs. (See: Nurse Practitioner Requirements in Indiana)
The CCNE directory shows a number of accredited Indiana schools (https://directory.ccnecommunity.org/reports/accprog.asp). CCNE-accredited nurse practitioner programs award master’s degrees, practice doctorates, and post-master certificates. The student can select the program that best fits his or her circumstances.
The ACEN directory also shows several programs, including one at the doctoral level (http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programsearch.asp).
Under the consensus model, certification agencies require formal education at the graduate level. There are multiple agencies that meet consensus standards. The population focus of the program will determine the certification. A student who completes a qualifying family nurse practitioner program may pursue certification through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
A student will have at least 500 hours of clinical education.
Nurse practitioners sometimes choose to do a post-certificate program at a later stage to expand their options.
Indiana Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice
Indiana is classified as a reduced practice state by the AANP. There’s a lot nurse practitioners can do, including order occupational therapy and prescribe medication, though autonomy is limited by the need to hold a collaborative agreement with a physician.
Despite regulatory controls that are a little higher than that recommended by the Institute of Medicine, the ways in which healthcare systems have used nurse practitioners have increased in recent years; NPs are now far more than ‘physician extenders’. Though Indiana code may not have language that explicitly recognizes nurse practitioners as primary care providers, many are stepping into this type of role. A 2017 article in the Indiana Business Journal called attention to growing demand (https://www.ibj.com/articles/63017-advanced-nurses-in-huge-demand). Some healthcare systems had hired slightly more nurse practitioners than physicians in the prior year. Their roles were varied. Some were in clinics (walk-in, urgent care, physician). Some were in hospital settings.
A National Institute for Health Care Reform Research Brief, which referenced Indiana among other states, noted that in practice, physicians often take into account experience level when determining the way they worked with nurse practitioners (https://www.kcnpnm.org/news/118578/Primary-Care-Workforce-Shortages-Nurse-Practitioner-Scope-of-Practice-Laws-and-Payment-Policies.htm).
Some hospitals utilize NPs on their surgery units. Some nurse practitioners are taking on duties similar to those residents have traditionally performed. Use of nurse practitioners can mean more continuity on the unit.
One innovative way nurse practitioners are being used in Indiana and around the nation: retail clinics.
2015 re-licensure data shows fewer APNs in rural counties, even when figured on a per-population basis. Current BLS data shows a somewhat higher concentration in the major Indiana metropolitan areas than in the state’s nonmetropolitan areas. It is here of course that the major medical centers are located. Still, rural access is a big concern. Some who seek to lessen practice barriers cite, as a reason, the need to make it easier for nurse practitioners to serve underserved communities.
Nurse Practitioner Salary in Indiana
Indiana nurse practitioners averaged $48.93 an hour or $101,780 a year in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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