Nurse Practitioner Programs in South Dakota

South Dakota’s nurse practitioners are well prepared to manage common health conditions, offer treatment, and promote well-being. The following fall under nurse practitioner scope of practice:

  • Order medical tests
  • Make primary and secondary diagnoses
  • Complete physicals
  • Sign birth certificates or death certificates
  • Order or prescribe additional services such as home health care or occupational or physical therapy
  • Prescribe medications and other items, ranging from blood products to nutrition

In short, nurse practitioners do many tasks that people traditionally associate with doctors. The largest portion of South Dakota nurse practitioners are employed in ambulatory care settings. Hospital settings also employ many.

South Dakota is recognized as a full practice state, one of the newest states to change its laws to allow NPs to practice to the full extent of their training. Legislation was passed in 2017 that places nurse practitioners under the sole regulatory control of the South Dakota Board of Nursing and allows individual nurse practitioners to practice without physician oversight. The Board notes that nurse practitioners continue to collaborate with other professionals and refer and transfer when patient health requires it.

Nurse practitioners are independent in all functions within their scope, but not immediately after certification. Independent practice requires 1,040 hours of experience. Until this time, a nurse practitioner will work under a collaborative agreement. The agreement may be with a physician or with an experienced Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP).

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Nurse Practitioner Programs in South Dakota

#1: South Dakota State University has partnered with the University of Missouri to bring several doctoral-level nurse practitioner education opportunities to South Dakota, including one of the least common: neonatal.

#2: Mount Marty College provides master’s level family nurse practitioner and psychiatric nurse practitioner programs. This CCNE-accredited school draws from a Benedictine tradition. The psychiatric nurse practitioner curriculum includes a neuroscience course.

Foundations of Practice

The prospective CNP must enroll in a role-specific graduate program. The program will prepare its students for national certification in at least one of the following areas:

  • Family across the lifespan
  • Psychiatric mental health
  • Adult-gerontology primary care
  • Pediatric primary care
  • Adult-gerontology acute care
  • Pediatric acute care
  • Neonatal
  • Women’s health

There are other population foci noted in application materials, but prospective nurse practitioners should be aware that there have been some changes made by national standard setters. One will no longer find certification examinations in some of the categories noted, though nurse practitioners may continue to renew their credentials.

South Dakota approves in-state programs. South Dakota students can enroll in distance programs located in other states if certain requirements are met. If the clinical experience takes place in South Dakota, then South Dakota will require that both the clinical preceptor and the faculty member supervising it hold a qualifying South Dakota APRN license.

A student who completes his or her educational requirements while physically on the other side of the South Dakota border will not have the same regulation but will still need to ensure the program meets basic standards. South Dakota requires that APRN programs have programmatic accreditation. This is a standard expectation. The following organizations are noted in state code: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, National League for Nursing.

Core curriculum includes advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, pharmacology, management of healthcare conditions, and clinical practice. Students can expect additional content such as role development and research that supports healthcare provision in the modern era.

Programs at the master’s level include psychiatric nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner. There are more specialties available at the DNP level. South Dakota State University has transitioned most of its nurse practitioner programs. (More: Nurse Practitioner requirements in South Dakota)

The South Dakota Nurse Practitioner Workforce

A 2017 workforce report identified the population foci of South Dakota nurse practitioners. Nearly 75% were certified in family practice. Adult-gerontology was the next most common with just 7.8%. This was followed by psychiatric-mental health.

When the Department of Health looked at data about clinical practice area, family practice predominated, though not to as great an extent. Here the proportion was 35.8%. Survey respondents could choose various options, including oncology (4.9%) and palliative care and occupational health (each1.1%). The ‘other’ category comprised 14.3%.

One will find significant differences in the nurse practitioner to population ratio in different parts of the state. Populous Region 2, comprised of just Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties, was home to 40.3% of nurse practitioners, a significantly lower 27.7% of the state’s population. By contrast, Region 5 had only 5.6% of the state’s nurse practitioners but needed to serve 9.5% of the state’s population.

When the governor signed the full practice bill in 2017, he expressed the belief that this would make it easier for nurse practitioners to step into roles in high-needs rural areas.

Those who prefer the urban lifestyle will find jobs there, too. The Bureau of Labor Statistics paints the area darker red right around Sioux Falls – indicating higher job concentration.

Nurse Practitioner Salary in South Dakota

A nurse practitioner career can pave the way to a three-figure salary. South Dakota nurse practitioners had average earnings of $100,030 in 2017, according to the BLS. This assumes a full year of 40-hour weeks. The typical hourly figure was reported as $48.09. Actual salaries are of course highly variable.

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