Nurse Practitioners in Urgent Care
People who unfortunately get sick or injure themselves outside of their doctor’s normal office hours often turn to an urgent care clinic. These clinics tend to be less hectic – and costly – than visits to the emergency room, but they can handle many of the same emergencies, including uncomplicated bone fractures and basic wounds that require stitches.
What is a Nurse Practitioner in Urgent Care?
Nurse practitioners (NP) who work in urgent care settings perform many of the same functions as physicians. These functions include ordering and interpreting tests, conducting complete physicals, and administering therapeutic procedures. They treat patients who need to see a medical practitioner right away but are not injured or sick enough to go to a hospital. In addition to healthcare duties, they are responsible for administrative and managerial tasks, as well. They often lead a team of registered nurses, create work schedules, and maintain medical supplies inventory.
While NPs can prescribe most medications, they may occasionally need to refer a patient to a doctor.
Because of the nature of their work, NPs in urgent care should have a high level of empathy and patience. Their patients could be in distress due to an emergency, which could make treatment difficult. Likewise, the people accompanying the patient might also be stressed and worried. A calm demeanor and the ability to communicate clearly are good traits for NPs in urgent care to have.
Nurse Practitioner in Urgent Care Salary and Requirements
Nurses who work in urgent care have an advanced education and usually several years of experience. After graduating, nurses take the Registered Nurse (RN) licensing exam, also known as the NCLEX. The NCLEX is a nationwide exam for licensing nurses. Often, nurses will begin work in a healthcare facility at this point as an RN.
To gain prescriptive authority to treat patients as an advanced practice nurse in an urgent care setting, RNs should pursue a master’s degree. Because these facilities cater to people of all ages, becoming certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) would provide a solid foundation to this career, but it’s also common for NPs working in urgent care facilities to be certified as Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (ACNP).
The nurse practitioner field is booming. The demand for NPs is growing “much faster than average,” with a predicted job growth of 31 percent by 2026. Growth will occur primarily because of an “increased emphasis on preventive care and demand for healthcare services from an aging population.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national median pay for NPs was $110,930 in 2017. While the BLS doesn’t have figures on the salary for NPs in urgent care, Payscale reported they have a median salary of $93,781.
Advance Your Nursing Career Online
In Rivier University’s online M.S. in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner program, you will gain the skills you need to practice in a family practice office, and for some graduates urgent care. Students in the program gain advanced theory and clinical education in topics such as pathophysiology, health assessment, family nursing theory, quality healthcare improvement, health policy and evidence-based practice.
Multiple term starts and competitive tuition rates are designed to help you begin and complete your degree faster, typically in 3-5 years.
Are you already an advanced practice nurse and want to take your career further? Rivier University also offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice program.