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Career and Education Opportunities for Nurse Practitioners in Lancaster, California

Nurse practitioners can find many career and educational opportunities in the Lancaster, California area. There are currently 3,200 jobs for nurse practitioners in California and this is projected to grow by 19% to about 3,800 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for nurse practitioners are expected to grow by about 13.0%. In general, nurse practitioners provide advanced nursing care and treatment to patients.

Nurse practitioners earn approximately $29 hourly or $61,820 annually on average in California. Nationally they average about $31 hourly or $65,880 yearly. Earnings for nurse practitioners are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Nursing in California and better than general Nursing category earnings nationally. Nurse practitioners work in a variety of jobs, including: palliative care nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, and family practice nurse practitioner.

The Lancaster area is home to 210 schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Lancaster where you can get a degree as a nurse practitioner. Given that the most common education level for nurse practitioners is a Master's degree, it will take about six years to learn to be a nurse practitioner if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years starting with a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Nurse Practitioner

In general, nurse practitioners provide advanced nursing care and treatment to patients. They also perform physical examinations, order diagnostic tests, develop treatment plans and prescribe drugs or other therapies.

Nurse practitioners prescribe medication dosages and frequencies on the basis of patients' characteristics such as age and gender. They also recommend diagnostic or therapeutic interventions with attention to safety and efficacy. Equally important, nurse practitioners have to read current literature, talk with colleagues, and participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in nursing. They are often called upon to confer with or refer patients to appropriate specialists when conditions exceed the scope of practice or expertise. They are expected to diagnose or treat complex, unstable or emergency conditions in collaboration with other health care providers as needed. Finally, nurse practitioners advocate for accessible health care that minimizes environmental health risks.

Every day, nurse practitioners are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation.

It is important for nurse practitioners to analyze and interpret patients' histories or diagnostic data to evolve appropriate diagnoses. They are often called upon to maintain complete and detailed records of patients' health care plans and prognoses. They also design treatment plans on the basis of scientific rationale, standards of care, and professional practice guidelines. They are sometimes expected to prescribe medications on the basis of efficacy and cost as legally authorized. Somewhat less frequently, nurse practitioners are also expected to perform routine or annual physical examinations.

Nurse practitioners sometimes are asked to diagnose or treat chronic health care problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. They also have to be able to schedule follow-up visits to track patients or evaluate health or illness care and recommend interventions to modify behavior associated with health risks. And finally, they sometimes have to treat or refer patients for primary care conditions such as headaches, hypertension, urinary tract infections, upper respiratory infections, and dermatological conditions.

Like many other jobs, nurse practitioners must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Lancaster include:

  • Licensed Practical Nurse. Care for ill, injured, or disabled persons in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
  • Physician Assistant. Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.
  • Registered Nurse. Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required. Includes advance practice nurses such as: nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. Advanced practice nursing is practiced by RNs who have specialized formal, post-basic education and who function in highly autonomous and specialized roles.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Nurse Practitioner Training

University of Southern California - Los Angeles, CA

University of Southern California, University Park, Los Angeles, CA 90089. University of Southern California is a large university located in Los Angeles, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 33,747 students and an admission rate of 22%. University of Southern California has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and post-master's certificate programs in Family Practice Nurse/Nurse Practitioner.

CERTIFICATIONS

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: AACN Certification Corporation has launched the ACNPC, an advanced practice certification examination for Acute Care Nurse Practitioners.

For more information, see the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses website.

Certified Health Fitness Specialist: The ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist (HFS) is a degreed health and fitness professional qualified to pursue a career in university, corporate, commercial, hospital, and community settings.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist: Becoming ACSM Certified as an Exercise Specialistsays a lot about you.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Long-Term Care: Long-Term Care certification is comprehensive in that it covers the entire life-span, from cradle to grave, for people that are chronically ill.

For more information, see the National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service, Inc. website.

Orthopaedic Technologist Certified: The Orthopaedic Technologist Certified (OTC) are those individuals that have demonstrated the knowledge and skills needed to work as an Orthopaedic Technologist Certified and who have passed the National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Technologists Certification Examination.

For more information, see the National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Technololgists website.

Diplomate in Acupuncture: The NCCAOM has established three routes of eligibility for certification in Acupuncture.

For more information, see the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine website.

Diplomate in Asian Bodywork Therapy: It is a considerable professional achievement to earn the designation Diplomate (NCCAOM).

For more information, see the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine website.

Diplomate in Oriental Medicine: Earning a credential from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) represents a significant professional achievement.

For more information, see the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine website.

Nuclear Cardiology Technologist: Professional certification is a vital component of a successful career.

For more information, see the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Lancaster, California

Lancaster, California
Lancaster, California photo by File Upload Bot

Lancaster is situated in Los Angeles County, California. It has a population of over 145,469, which has grown by 22.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Lancaster, 130, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Lancaster cost $144,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-six new homes were constructed in Lancaster, down from eight hundred six the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Lancaster are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 32 minutes. More than 15.8% of Lancaster residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Lancaster is 17.6%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Lancaster residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.1%, is more than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Lancaster is home to the Los Angeles County Animal Shelter Number 5 and the Lancaster City Hall as well as Mays Field and Mariposa Park. Shopping centers in the area include Antelope Valley Center Shopping Center, Antelope Valley Plaza Shopping Center and West Lancaster Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Lancaster can choose from Best Western Antelope Valley I, Aloha Motel and Bonaire Motel for temporary stays in the area.