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Nurse Practitioners Programs in Wisconsin

Wisconsin nurse practitioners are eligible for state certification as Advanced Practice Nurse Prescribers (APNPs). This is the designation most comparable to the term ‘Advanced Practice Registered Nurse’ used in many states. Currently, a Wisconsin nurse may become an Advanced Practice Nurse on the basis of 1) RN licensing and 2) advanced education and third party certification. This in itself represents a major accomplishment as APRN education takes place at the graduate level. To obtain the scope of practice needed for many positions, though, the nurse will need to become an APNP.

APNPs order various tests as well as treatments and therapeutics; this is to support their role in care management. They are subject to a high level of oversight. They take a state jurisprudence exam. APNP practice requires a collaborative relationship with a physician. Specific coursework requirements for the extra credential, though, are minimal, at least at the onset. State code mandates the equivalent of three semester hours of pharmacotherapeutics coursework – something one will typically find in an accredited nurse practitioner program. APNP’s continuing education requirements carry a specific mandate for coursework in safe prescribing.

Wisconsin is classified as a reduced practice state by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Nurse practitioners are less independent than they are in some states. A greater level of oversight is required. However, nurse practitioners can ultimately do quite a lot.

Wisconsin, like many states, places stipulations on prescriptions on some types of drugs. Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity, though, is specifically referenced as being a condition for which certain types of restricted medication can be prescribed – it is easier to function as a family's general healthcare provider when one has the ability to prescribe a child's ADHD medication!

The Wisconsin Nurses Association notes that the need for nurses at this level is growing for a number of reasons, including provider shortage, rise in Medicare beneficiaries, increase in occupational health and on-site primary care, and increased focus on patient-centered care coordination. Nurse practitioners can manage care of chronic condition in a patient-centered care coordination model. Their effective utilization can mean lower Medicare costs.

Wisconsin nurse practitioners earned average income of $49 an hour ($101,930 a year) in 2017.

Top Nurse Practitioner Programs in Wisconsin

#1: The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers three nurse practitioner tracks. Coursework is hybrid; in other words, a portion of it is online. The University of Wisconsin-Madison DNP program is ranked #28 in the nation by US News and World Report.

#2: Marquette University offers multiple adult-gerontology and pediatric tracks. Nurses who opt for pediatrics can select a primary care track, acute care track, or combined track. They can come away with a master’s or doctoral degree.

#3: The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee provides future family and psychiatric nurse practitioners an opportunity to earn their DNP under distinguished faculty. They can even seek time abroad, thanks to the Center for International Education – Overseas Programs and Partnerships.

APNP Practice Issues

Nurse practitioners practice in urban and rural parts of Wisconsin, but may occupy a different place in the healthcare system.

Some rural facilities are designed to utilize nurse practitioners to the extent allowable under state law. The Wisconsin Office of Rural Health, for example, has set up two nurse practitioner clinics (http://worh.org/about).

Sometimes, though, it is a challenge to put all the pieces in place. Stakeholders have come out in recent years with recommendations against mandatory physician oversight.

Nurse practitioners are especially crucial for rural and underserved areas, so much so that they sometimes qualify for financial incentives. The Wisconsin Primary Care Program has information for students (https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/primarycare/students.htm).

Becoming a Nurse Practitioner

APNPs have different practice areas. Many provide general services to individuals across the lifespan; they train and test as family nurse practitioners. Others have a somewhat narrower population focus. Nationally accredited programs prepare students for adult-gerontology, pediatric, women’s health, neonatal, and psychiatric-mental health practice. Adult-gerontology and pediatric programs may be primary, acute care, or dual. Students will qualify to take at least one national certification examination.

Ultimately, the student will need to meet the educational standards of the certifying agency. The American Nurses Credentialing Center, which offers examination-based certifications in most (but not all) nationally recognized population foci, specifies that programs be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Accrediting agencies monitor outcomes, including results of certification examinations.

Master’s (MSN) and doctoral (DNP) programs are both common. Students at either level take advanced coursework in physiology, pharmacology, and patient assessment. They receive theoretical and clinical instruction in clinical management of healthcare conditions affecting the target population. They develop competencies necessary to promote population health and to function as part of healthcare teams. They prepare students for the same national certification examinations but will not necessarily give them all the same career options. It is not uncommon for schools to offer both an MSN and DNP option. A DNP student can expect more clinical hours. The student may devote a good deal of time to a clinically focused scholarly project; this might involve quality improvement, program development, or clinical research evaluation (among other options).

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