More and more today, people are discovering the benefits of becoming a nurse practitioner (NP). Some of the reasons why people look into this career in the first place include the fact they know they can treat a vast array of patients as a NP. They will truly be able to make a difference in this world while doing something they feel passionate about. In many states, they may even have physician privileges, creating an even bigger demand for them as a significant medical industry contributor.
If becoming a nurse practitioner who gets paid to do something you love seems intriguing to you, it should. It is an excellent opportunity for those who can and will commit to the process and the healthcare industry.
If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary or untraditional, there are many NP positions you could create or pursue. Let’s look at some jobs that ride that fine line between standard and non-traditional.
When is it Time for a Career Change for Nurse Practitioners?
Are you just finishing high school and looking for direction? Have you considered the healthcare industry? Though there are many positions one can hold in the medical/healthcare field or industry, you may want to consider becoming a nurse practitioner.
If you like to take on responsibility (and handle it well), feel comfortable with people, consider yourself intelligent, like to work hard, and are interested in the medical field, you might be ready to take on the job of examining, diagnosing, and treating patients as a NP.
If you’re already out in the work world but feel exceedingly discouraged and dissatisfied in your position, maybe it’s time for a change. Most professionals involved in the healthcare industry will always be in demand. A NP is one of those professions.
NP training involves becoming a registered nurse through either a two- or four-year program, completing a masters or doctoral program and becoming licensed and certified in your specialty. Typically, this process will take anywhere from 6-8 years depending on the route and degrees you choose. Some NP schools will require a year of working in healthcare as a RN prior to application for NP school while others do not.
8 unique NP roles
#1 A Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Who Recommends Pharmacogenetic Testing
As a PMHNP, you will be called upon to give advice to patients regarding the treatment of any number of mental health conditions. In the psychiatric field, if you feel that one of your patients may benefit from a certain type of medication, you will likely want to prescribe it. But how do you know precisely what the patient’s reaction will be to a specific medication? You don’t want to make things worse, after all.
Today, to see what type of medication response might be experienced by a person – as a result of their genes – testing can be done. This is referred to as the field of pharmacogenetics. You may recommend your patient go through this type of testing to determine which medication works best for the patient’s genetic makeup. Also, if a bad reaction to the medication is suspected, another medication can possibly be explored for use by that individual. You will be doing all you can to not only help, but to also protect your patient and improve patient outcomes – and that’s the whole point of being in the healthcare industry!
#2 A Nurse Practitioner Who Works in an Orthopedic Rehabilitation Pain Clinic that Treats Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
Working as a NP in orthopedic rehabilitation can be extremely rewarding. The field of orthopedics is ever expanding and finding new ways to help people bounce back from joint, muscle, and bone issues. EDS – Ehlers Danlos Syndromes – involves JH (joint hypermobility) and is a connective disorder. As a part of a healthcare team, you may be managing care of someone with this condition which may include pain management so they can live a healthier, happier life.
#3 A Nurse Practitioner Who Treats Sickle Cell Disease
If a person is diagnosed with sickle cell disease, their treatment choices may be limited. As a NP in a hematology clinic treating sickle cell, you’ll be helping to determine which treatment will work best for your patient. To prevent disease-associated complications and help relieve pain, there are several medications and treatment options currently in use. Though significant risk is involved, medical professionals are working with bone marrow and stem cell transplants as a cure for the disease.
#4 A Nurse Practitioner Who Owns a Rheumatology Clinic that Treats Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Working in Rheumatology, a NP may manage, treat, and diagnose a vast array of auto-immune, muscle, bone, joint, ligament and tendon conditions, or may just focus on one niche like SLE. NPs manage SLE with a variety of medications and supportive therapy. NPs are compassionate holistic care providers for patients managing this complex condition of the immune system and can make a real difference in someone’s life.
#5 A PMHNP Who Owns an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Clinic
Some PMHNPs are passionate about certain areas or specialties in their practice. Each condition may have a unique set of treatment options that need to be individualized for each patient. Some PMHNPs choose to focus on one specialty like OCD. NPs are making an enormous difference by diagnosing, managing and coordinating the care of patients with OCD. Currently, CBT – cognitive behavioral therapy – has proven an effective kind of psychotherapy for many people. Other therapies are being utilized as well, making this a great area for NPs to be on the frontlines.
#6 A Neonatal NP (NNP) Who Owns a NICU Follow-up Business
In the NICU, a baby is monitored for blood oxygenation, blood pressure, breathing rate, and heart rate because of a variety of life-threatening conditions. Once an infant leaves this specially designed version of an ICU (intensive care unit), they may need monitoring and close follow-up. NPs can provide one-on-one management of outpatient care via home or clinic visits. Depending on the baby’s condition and diagnosis, specific follow-up categories would likely be assigned. An NP working with newborn babies may have a very rewarding career, and it takes a special type of individual.
#7 A Nurse Practitioner Who Works for a Mobile Care Clinic that Provides Mobile Infusion Therapy
During IV hydration (IVH) or therapy a small catheter is placed into your vein as an access port for intravenous fluids and drips. Fluids or drips may contain electrolytes, vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients and even medications. IV fluids travel directly into your circulatory system instead of via the gastrointestinal tract which can be important especially when you have gastrointestinal distress. IV hydration can be used to help treat dehydration and migraine headaches, boost immunity and for many other conditions. As a NP, you will be assessing the patient before the infusion, determine what kind of infusion would be best and, depending on staffing, you may also be the provider to administer the treatment. Having a mobile unit to provide IVH services allows a NP to reach patients that need to be treated from home, care homes or many other living facilities.
#8 Open a Unique Nurse Practitioner Practice
You can practice independently as a NP. Today many NPs are owning their own practices in a variety of specialties. In that case, you are your own boss. In a full practice authority (FPA) state you may practice without a collaborative practice agreement once you qualify by meeting the state-specific requirements. The states in which a NP can enjoy FPA are as follows:
- South Dakota
- Rhode Island
- North Dakota
- New York
- New Mexico
- New Hampshire
- District of Columbia
(Disclaimer: Rules are always changing. Information provided is accurate at the time of article publication. Please check with the state in which you are considering opening a practice to verify your state-specific guidelines.)
Even if you require a supervising physician, there are turn-key solutions to help you seamlessly find the right physician for your business so you can start your practice and be a business owner. Create your own NP practice that focuses on a specialty YOU are passionate about. Here’s a few more unique examples:
Members of the LGBTQ+ community frequently find themselves at a loss when searching for unbiased, non-prejudicial treatment. Whether they need to see someone for a diagnosis and treatment of AIDS, transgender surgery/therapy – or even something as seemingly insignificant as the flu or a cold – they want the medical professional they’re speaking with to treat them as a real person with compassion and empathy. They don’t want to be judged, lectured about religious choices, discriminated against, or harassed. They simply want to be treated like a patient who needs assistance. You, as a NP in this field, can make a real difference!
Perimenopause and/or Menopause
As a NP in this field, to help women reduce night sweats, hot flashes, and other symptoms of menopause or perimenopause, you will explore the treatment options available. Creams, gels, sprays, skin patches, injections, and pills may be used for systemic hormone therapy, or some other treatment. You will also want to honestly discuss, with your patient, the risks involved with certain treatments, and whether there are non-pharmacologic alternatives.
To encourage and support maternal health as a NP, you would be involved in promoting health where postnatal care, childbirth, and pregnancy are concerned. You may be called upon to offer support to some women involving intimacy, help ensure access to reproductive and sexual health needs, detect/prevent diseases, and advise your patient about good nutrition. Even after the pregnancy ends, you may be called upon to treat a woman as a Women’s Health NP (WHNP) or Family NP (FNP).
As a professional in this field, you may be able to make a real difference in someone’s life. Possibly, you could help do away with pregnancy-related mortality by working toward finding a solution to access to maternal health care. Imagine the significant impact you might have in the field of medicine with the implementation of your ideas.
To treat hormone imbalances, therapy will depend on the cause of the imbalance. Patients may have thyroid disorders that require management by a medical professional. NPs may provide endocrinology evaluations and management of conditions.
NPs may also manage male and female hormone replacement therapy. To lessen the risks associated with some hormone treatments, many NPs utilize natural hormone balancing strategies through diet and lifestyle as well with their patients.
As a NP in functional medicine, holistically, you would work with your patient in consideration of their emotional, mental, and physical health. Spiritual health may sometimes enter the picture, as well. Factors like over-the-counter medications, prescription meds, hormonal changes, genetics, diet, and other lifestyle components are considered individually for each patient in determining the best diagnosis and treatment.
What are some functional medicine examples? These can include yoga, tai chi, body movement therapies, osteopathic medicine, chiropractic medicine, massage, naturopathy, and acupuncture.
Functional medicine is meant to go above and beyond conventional in that it treats the disease and symptoms in an additional manner. What’s below the surface is the focus of functional medicine. It gets to the root of the problem. Lifestyle and environmental factors that can come into play include stress, nutrition, physical activity or inactivity, relaxation, sleep, and more.
If the tongue’s range of motion is restricted at birth, this is a condition referred to as Tongue-tie (Ankyloglossia). Before birth, the band of tissue under the tongue – the frenulum – did not separate from the tongue. Genetics may be one cause for this. As the child grows, the band stays connected (usually thick or short). This can limit the tongue’s mobility and create a sense of tightness. It can interfere with a baby’s ability to latch on and breastfeed.
To release the frenulum, some NPs may recommend and perform a minor surgery – a frenotomy. NPs who are passionate about this specialty can have a rewarding career helping those born with ankyloglossia.
As an NP, you want to find your passion! You want to make the most of your rigorous studies and effort and choose a niche that truly speaks to your heart. Here’s how.
We Can Help NPs Make Their Visions a Reality
At Collaborating Docs, our mission is to do what we can to make it easier for NPs to make a real difference in their patients’ lives. We do this, in part, by offering freedom of choice. If you are a NP, we’re here for you. You are precisely why we do what we do – and we do it well.
We understand – you worked long and hard. Becoming a NP wasn’t something that happened overnight. For all your dedication and efforts, you deserve the absolute best when it comes to landing a position. If you work in a state where you’ll be collaborating with a doctor, you want that physician to be well-qualified and willing to work together. Anyone who expects you to jump through hoops isn’t worth your time. You should never be expected to do that. Don’t be discouraged or disappointed if your search hasn’t turned up the right fit yet. We can help.
In two weeks or less, we can match you with a supervising physician if you need it. How can we be so sure? We have significant resources. Across the United States, we have access to over 500 physicians that we connect with NPs every day. We are so confident that we can match you with a collaborating physician within 14 days or less, that we will refund your match fee if we do not deliver on our promises, so there is nothing to lose!
Requirements of the collaborating physician we handpick for you:
- Availability during normal business hours
- Check-ins with you monthly via video call
- Monthly reviews of at least 10% of your charts
- Fulfillment of all specific requirements by your state… and more
Schedule a free quote so we can assist you in connecting with your physician to start your NP practice. Click here to schedule a discovery Zoom call or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.