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Career and Education Opportunities for Nurse Practitioners in Chicago, Illinois

Nurse practitioners can find many career and educational opportunities in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 6,100 jobs for nurse practitioners in Illinois and this is projected to grow by 12% to about 6,810 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for nurse practitioners, which sees this job pool growing by about 13.0% over the next eight years. In general, nurse practitioners provide advanced nursing care and treatment to patients.

Nurse practitioners earn approximately $30 per hour or $63,070 yearly on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $31 per hour or $65,880 per year. Incomes for nurse practitioners are better than in the overall category of Nursing in Illinois, and better than the overall Nursing category nationally. People working as nurse practitioners can fill a number of jobs, such as: family practice certified advanced registered nurse practitioner, thoracic surgery family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric nurse practitioner.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including five within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as a nurse practitioner. The most common level of education for nurse practitioners is a Master's degree. You can expect to spend about six years studying to be a nurse practitioner if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have 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 Chicago 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 St Francis - Joliet, IL

University of St Francis, 500 N Wilcox St, Joliet, IL 60435-6188. University of St Francis is a small university located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,334 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of St Francis has a post-master's certificate program in Family Practice Nurse/Nurse Practitioner.

Saint Xavier University - Chicago, IL

Saint Xavier University, 3700 W 103rd St, Chicago, IL 60655. Saint Xavier University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,307 students and an admission rate of 71%. Saint Xavier University has a postbaccalaureate certificate and a master's degree program in Family Practice Nurse/Nurse Practitioner.

DePaul University - Chicago, IL

DePaul University, 55 E Jackson, Chicago, IL 60604. DePaul University is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 22,554 students. DePaul University has a master's degree and a post-master's certificate program in Family Practice Nurse/Nurse Practitioner which graduated two and one students respectively in 2008.

North Park University - Chicago, IL

North Park University, 3225 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625-4895. North Park University is a small university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,255 students and an admission rate of 30%. North Park University has a master's degree and a post-master's certificate program in Family Practice Nurse/Nurse Practitioner.

Loyola University Chicago - Chicago, IL

Loyola University Chicago, 820 N. Michigan, Chicago, IL 60611-9810. Loyola University Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,670 students and an admission rate of 74%. Loyola University Chicago has a master's degree program 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: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.