Nurse Practitioner Programs in Maine
Maine’s nurse practitioners have expanded nursing roles. In fact, they provide services that people often associate with doctors. The scope of practice includes carrying out screening and diagnostic evaluations, interpreting health data, diagnosing common diseases, providing treatment, and providing health counseling. Maine Nurse Practitioner licensure carries with it prescriptive authority.
Nurse practitioners may have different specialties. These can be quite broad; more Maine nurse practitioners are prepared as family nurse practitioners than any other specialty. However, some have specialized training to serve a particular age band (e.g. adult-gerontology) or other population (e.g. mental health). Nurse practitioners are expected to seek employment consistent with their area of specialty. A nurse practitioner may add a specialization by completing additional education and testing.
Most primary care is thought to be within the training and capability of an NP, but some is more complex. NPs refer as well as collaborate. In larger medical settings, many healthcare professionals work together to deliver specialized care.
Nurse practitioners are classified as Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, or APRNs. The vast majority of the state’s APRNs are nurse practitioners; they comprised 71% when data was collected in 2015. (The next highest category, nurse anesthetists, comprised less than 19%.
Maine is classified as a full practice state by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners; it is one of 23. Maine nurse practitioners do not have ongoing requirements for physician supervision or collaboration. Independence is not immediate. The state’s nurse practitioners do work under supervision for the first two years following graduation.
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Nurse Practitioner Programs in Maine
#1: The University of Southern Maine offers preparation for four types of nurse practitioner, including adult-gerontology acute care. MSN programs are carried out in a traditional academic environment in Portland. Students typically complete about 600 hours of clinicals; they gain some experience in the community working with underserved populations. Advanced practice nurses have the option of pursuing a DNP later — and doing so online.
#2: Husson University boasts a 100% examination pass rate. There are two options: psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and family and community nurse practitioner. The family and community track prepares graduates to work with individuals throughout the lifespan, including culturally diverse and nontraditional families – and to take the family nurse practitioner certification examination through either the ANCC or the AANP.
#3: St. Joseph’s College offers online preparation for adult-gerontology and family nurse practitioner roles.
#4: The University of Maine provides yet another CCNE-accredited family nurse practitioner option.
Nurse Practitioner Education and Training Standards
A nurse who seeks nurse practitioner licensing will pursue a specialty-specific course of study at the graduate level, then achieve a qualifying third party certification. The program will provide preparation for a specific third party credential. The following certifications are referenced in state code: the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the National Board of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners, the National Certification Corporation for the Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing Specialties, and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. State code leaves open the possibility that other certifying agencies will be accepted.
Maine requires nurse practitioner programs to hold national accreditation. Maine has four nurse practitioner programs that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or CCNE.
Programs may be conducted primarily online. However, they include a minimum of 500 clinical practice hours. The Maine Nurse Practitioner Association has an online function that can be used to locate a preceptor (http://www.mnpa.us/find-a-preceptor-).
Maine’s qualifying degree programs are offered at the master’s level. One state university offers a post-master Doctor of Nursing Practice option. The Board stresses that, while stakeholders at the national level may have pushed for the DNP to become the standard, it is not required for licensure.
A new nurse practitioner must work under supervision for at least 24 months. The supervisor may be either a physician or nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioner supervisors must have considerable clinical experience to be eligible. (See: Nurse Practitioner requirements in Maine)
Nurse Practitioner Work Settings
APRNs are more likely than their RN counterparts to be employed in settings where patients walk in and out the same day. A workforce summary released in 2017 found 37% of APRNs employed in hospital settings and 32% in ambulatory care settings while community health employed nearly 11% (https://usm.maine.edu/nursing/nursing-workforce-data-state-maine). If one looked at just nurse practitioners, the percentage working in hospital settings would be expected to be lower relative to ambulatory care as data includes nurse anesthetists. Small percentages of APRNs reported working in academic settings and in nursing homes, extended care, and home settings.
The most common practice area for APRNs is family. Discounting those that reported anesthesia, next most common was psychiatric/ mental health.
Maine has fewer nurse practitioners in rural areas than urban ones, even when figured by population (number of NPs per 100,000). The Center for Health Workforce Studies reported in 2014 that isolated rural areas had the fewest nurse practitioners per 100,000 residents (https://depts.washington.edu/fammed/chws/studies/maines-physician-nurse-practitioner-and-physician-assistant-workforce-in-2014/). There was relative parity among areas classified as large rural and small rural (with small rural areas actually reporting slightly higher figures).
Overall, Maine has the third highest concentration of nurse practitioners of any U.S. state.
Maine Nurse Practitioner Salary
Maine nurse practitioners had average earnings of $48.13 an hour in 2017 ($100,100 for a full year of 40-hour weeks).
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