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Nurse Practitioners Programs in Wyoming

Wyoming nurse practitioners operate in a greatly expanded nursing capacity. They manage and coordinate health care for patients in diverse settings. Their scope includes diagnosis and prescriptive authority. Wyoming is classified as a full practice state by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. This means the state’s nurse practitioners are allowed to practice to the level of their training.

Wyoming does not require nurse practitioners to have a physician collaborator. Some will have one, though-- this depends on employment circumstances. Nurse practitioners may work as part of healthcare provider teams or operate their own practices. Nurse practitioners make referrals to other healthcare professionals as needed. Referral and collaboration needs will depend in part on the nurse practitioner's own training. There are different sub-disciplines.

Wyoming nurse practitioners averaged $54.48 an hour or $113,310 a year -- higher than any of the bordering states.

Top Nurse Practitioner Programs in Wyoming

#1: The University of Wyoming has, among its goals, preparation of professionals who can meet physical and mental health care needs in rural locations. Programs are limited residency; much of the coursework is online, but students need to travel to campus for periodic intensives.

Becoming a Nurse Practitioner and the DNP Program

Nurse practitioners begin their education at the RN level, but this is only the foundation. NP educational programs are taught at the graduate level. Programs must be ones that prepare the advanced practice nurse in a recognized specialty area. The Wyoming Board defers to national professional organizations in establishing population foci. Examples include family practice, adult-gerontology practice, and pediatrics; adult-gerontology and pediatrics have acute care options.

Certification agencies set educational standards for exam eligibility. A good first step is checking on the program's national accreditation status. The most common accreditation is the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or CCNE.

Wyoming has in-state family nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse programs. This allows the state to produce advance practice nurses who can meet general physical and mental health needs across the lifespan. Wyoming’s nurse practitioner program is taught at the doctoral level. The degree awarded is the DNP. The DNP had been recommended as the entry standard by national stakeholders but is not required for licensure (either in Wyoming or elsewhere).

The CCNE has provided multiple standards documents: core master’s standards, core doctoral standards, and standards that are specific to the nurse practitioner role (http://www.aacnnursing.org/CCNE-Accreditation/Resource-Documents/CCNE-Standards-Professional-Nursing-Guidelines). NP students at any level can expect core content such as pathophysiology, health assessment, health promotion, phamacotherapeutics, NP role preparation, and clinical management of conditions that may affect the client population. Programs may be primarily online but will include preceptorships.

One of the hallmarks of the DNP is a practice-oriented project. The University of Wyoming notes that this can look different from school to school. The UW DNP project has evolved over time. At this point, DNP students are partnering with healthcare agencies to carry out quality improvement projects. The following are among the topics addressed by 2018 UW DNP candidates: increasing colonoscopy completion rates at a federally qualified health center, increasing medication adherence at a free rural primary care clinic, increasing cervical cancer screening rates among American Indians, and improving adolescent depression screening (http://www.uwyo.edu/nursing/news/2018/2018_dnps-present-research.html).

Students also have the option in enrolling in schools that are physically located in other states. Wyoming does not have a specific approval process but does exercise a degree of regulation over programs that place students in Wyoming for clinical preceptorships.

Rural and Urban APRN Practice in Wyoming

Nurse practitioners work in rural and urban areas, but may have different functions in different settings. In rural settings, they are more likely to be a patient’s main healthcare provider or point of contact.

The University of Wyoming has provided a brief profile of a family nurse practitioner serving in a rural area. She notes that one thing that makes this type of practice unique is the interaction in the greater community (http://www.uwyo.edu/nursing/news/2016/2016-nurse-leader_kim-schindler.html). The patient who seeks treatment from the NP could be the NP’s child's teacher or someone he or she will interact with at a store a short time later.

Often nurse practitioners are in positions of responsibility. The Wyoming Board of Nursing issued an advisory opinion, stating that they recognized that nurse practitioners couldn't be available to their patients at all times but recommended that they provide them with information about what to do if they need healthcare assistance at a time the provider is not available; the Board has also provided resources.

2018 job postings reveal a number of healthcare organizations seeking NPs to work as part of healthcare teams, often in urban areas. One organization sought a nurse practitioner who could work as part of a team at a pain management practice performing assessments and creating treatment plans for established patients. Another sought a hospital-based nurse practitioner whose oncology duties would include creating treatment plans in collaboration with a physician and who might order diagnostic tests, medications, and blood products for patients. The nurse practitioner would have a particular role in managing side effects of treatment. He or she would also provide preventive services.

One practice sought a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner who could manage psychotropic medication regimes and perform psychiatric evaluations (ordering lab tests as needed). The person might have his or her own patient panel in addition to providing same day services and support with crises.

BLS data shows a somewhat higher NP job concentration in the Southeastern part of the state, encompassing the Central-Southeast nonmetropolitan areas well as the Cheyenne and Casper metropolitan areas.

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