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Nurse Practitioner Programs in Nevada

Nevada nurse practitioners diagnose, treat, and prescribe. They may have their own group of patients that they are responsible for. Nevada is among the states that allow nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their training without physician oversight. They have full independent prescriptive authority after a transition period. This is relatively recent; legislation was passed in 2013 that eased restrictions for physician oversight.

Nurse practitioner is considered an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, or APRN, role. Each nurse practitioner has a population focus. It may be any of the following: families and individuals across the lifespan, pediatrics, adult-gerontology, women's health/ gender specific, psychiatric/ mental health, or neonatal. In most cases, Nevada nurse practitioners must practice only in their population focus. (They aren’t necessarily limited by their first graduate degree, though – if they opt for a certificate later in a different specialty, there will be core coursework they can skip.)

The Las Vegas Review Journal described some of the differences in training between nurse practitioners and doctors in an article that was published shortly after Nevada became a full practice state, (https://www.reviewjournal.com/life/health/new-law-lets-nurse-practitioners-get-more-involved/). Nurse practitioners already had a track record for providing very good care. Now those in Nevada could enjoy even more opportunity!

Top Nurse Practitioner Programs in Nevada

#1: The University of Nevada-Reno offers three options: family, adult-gerontology, and psychiatric mental health. Students can choose their degree level (and the time commitment and depth of study). Those with a strong interest in advanced practice and public health can do a combined MSN/MPH program.

#2: The University of Nevada-Las Vegas offers another CCNE-accredited family nurse practitioner option – again, with the opportunity to choose one’s degree level.

Preparation for a Nurse Practitioner Career

Nurse practitioners are RNs before they are APRNs. They must have additional education at the graduate level. Professionals nurses have traditionally entered programs with years of clinical experience beyond them. Now many are doing so sooner. Schools are working hard to support them.

State-mandated coursework includes advanced pathophysiology, assessment, and pharmacology, as well as preparation for the nurse practitioner role and preparation for the particular specialization.

Nevada has two programs, both accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Students may pursue degrees at the master’s or doctoral level. Despite widespread consensus about curricular standards, there are some differences in course offerings. The Westat report noted students in Nevada had more healthcare administration and business infused into their curriculum, a supplement to the clinical topics.

There are two in-state family nurse practitioner options, one option each for psychiatric-mental health and adult-gerontology. A student can, if he or she chooses, pursue a course of study through an out-of-state university. In fact, many accredited programs are online. The student will complete a minimum of 500 graduate clinical hours. CCNE-accredited DNP programs ensure that their graduates have had at least 1,000. Students will want to check with individual schools to make sure they can preceptor students in Nevada. Chances are good that an online MSN or DNP student will need to travel to campus at least a few times during his or her years in the program. Policies vary quite a bit, though, from school to school.

High-level nursing/ healthcare organizations have come out in favor of the doctoral degree becoming the standard for NP practice, though it is a long way from happening. The DNP is widely considered to be a career asset. The five-state reported noted that nurse practitioners with doctoral degrees tended to have higher patient volumes.

CCNE standards specify additional standards for nursing programs at the master’s or doctoral level. The student will, for example, develop competencies in population health.

The prospective nurse practitioner must pursue national certification. The certification will correspond with the population focus of the program. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and Pediatric Nursing Certification Board are among the recognized certifications. Students can expect the program to identify the certification examinations they will be qualified to sit for.

A post-graduate transition to practice will be required if the nurse practitioner will be prescribing controlled substances.

(More Details: Nurse Practitioner requirements in Nevada)

Nevada APRN Practice Issues

Nurse practitioners are important to service delivery in both rural and urban areas, though job options vary across settings. Nevada was one of five states selected as a case study for understanding how NP practice was affected by various factors, including scope of practice; the study was prepared by Westat for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Westat also analyzed some national data. Among the conclusions: Nurse practitioners with full prescriptive authority were significantly more likely than their counterparts to have their own patient panels. They were significantly more likely (10%) to practice in rural areas, though this was seen as a two-way street; there was some correlation between rurality and less restrictive SOP laws. Rurality was another independent factor impacting practice. Rural nurse practitioners tended to be more autonomous in their practice.

Primary care nurse practitioners are among those eligible to apply for Nevada Health Services loan repayment (https://med.unr.edu/rural-health/health-service). The goal is to place healthcare providers in underserved areas.

The South Nevada nonmetropolitan area has a higher nurse practitioner location quotient than the Las Vegas area. It has a slightly higher location quotient than the Reno area. Data for some parts of the state is not reported.

Rural health clinics are among the possible work settings (https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Interim/77th2013/Exhibits/HealthCare/E050714G.pdf).

Nevada nurse practitioners earned an average of $50.73 an hour ($105,520) in 2017.

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