Job search FAQs
Frequently asked questions about Licensed Practical Nurse jobs
Nurse practitioners give primary, acute and specialty health care services to patients. They are trained and authorized to diagnose illnesses, treat conditions, and provide education to patients to live their healthiest lives.
Specific tasks may include taking medical histories, performing physical exams, ordering diagnostics tests, developing treatment plans, following up on courses of treatment, and collaborating with other providers to ensure holistic care for the patient.
NPs also keep detailed records and regularly continue their education to stay on top of developments in the field. They may have a specialty, such as geriatric, hospice, gastroenterology, occupational health, urology, and more, each requiring specific training and education on illnesses, conditions, and treatments.
Overall, nurse practitioners see patients when they are sick, admitted into a hospital, have an injury, or have outpatient procedures. They’ll take care of a variety of your needs from admission to discharge, either from a hospital or from a doctor’s office or another outpatient setting.
Nurse practitioners must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). After obtaining their license as a registered nurse, students typically earn a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DMP) degree.
Once you complete your education, you must pass a standardized exam to get certification from the specialty nursing board overseeing your area of practice. NPs also must get licensed to practice medicine from their state.
After obtaining their licenses, most on-the-job training happens through clinical training or experience as an RN. Part of your education will also likely require the completion of a clinical residency.
After finishing your degrees, completing your residency, and obtaining all necessary licenses, you’re ready to search for open NP positions in your area.
Requirements for an NP role can vary by company, but many require the same basic things like:
Be a registered nurse (RN)
Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Complete an NP-focused graduate master’s or doctoral nursing program
Passed a national NP board certification exam
State NP license to practice medicine
Experience in a clinical residency or another hospital/outpatient/doctor’s office setting
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Specific requirements may also depend on your specialization, as well as the setting you’ll be working in. For example, an NP working in an in-patient hospital setting may have different responsibilities than one working in a doctor’s office.
The job description should clearly outline requirements, but if you have questions, ask the hiring manager.
Interview questions vary, but you can expect a mix of general questions about your background and experience and in-depth or job-specific queries.
Knowing what types of questions may be asked, and preparing answers ahead of time, can help you succeed in your interview:
Why did you become a nurse practitioner?
What do you think is the most challenging part of working as an NP? What about the most rewarding?
How would you respond if you witnessed unethical actions or decisions from another provider or member of your care team?
Describe how you go about developing a good relationship with a physician?
How do you deal with a difficult or non-compliant patient?
What do you think are the most important qualities/skills for an NP?
Why did you choose your specialty?
How do you make a patient feel comfortable?
There are several qualities and skills a good NP will have to be successful in their role. Some of the best qualities or traits include:
An NP’s skills should focus on patient care, communication, and knowledge of medicine. These can include:
Written and verbal communication skills
Time management skills
Ability to work under pressure
Ability to provide accurate, effective care in stressful situations
Critical thinking skills
Attention to detail
Analysis and diagnostic capabilities
Most people who become NPs continue with that career choice, especially because it takes so many years of education and residency to be able to practice.
However, if you’d like to advance, earning your DNP (if you don’t already have it) can be significant. NP graduate programs can often lead to career advancement, greater autonomy, and opportunities for leadership roles.
You could also become a nurse educator, nurse informaticist, chief nursing officer, nurse researcher, or nurse administrator.
Depending on the location an NP works and their particular specialty, work hours can vary.
For example, those who work out of a doctor’s office may only be there during normal business hours, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. However, NPs working in a hospital setting may work days, evenings, or overnight shifts.
Shift lengths can vary and could be 8, 10, or even 12 hours. Depending on their specialty, NPs must be on call for 24-hour shifts. They may also work on weekends and holidays.
Most NPs work in physician’s offices, hospitals, or outpatient care centers. They may work in a variety of healthcare settings, which means the workplace can vary. A physician’s office may be calmer and quieter, while an emergency room or hospital setting may be loud and chaotic.
Also, depending on your specialty, you may work with a variety of types of patients with a range of physical and mental limitations and needs.